Investigatory work to begin on Gardenstown landslip

A contractor has been appointed to carry out investigatory works at a north east coastal village affected by a landslip.

Work will begin at Gardenstown next week in the area between New Church and Harbour Road.

Intrusive investigations are expected to take 19 days to complete and are essential to progressing a permanent solution for the village.

Boreholes will be drilled at a number of sites from Wednesday (Feb 14) to give engineers a clearer picture of the ground conditions.

The work will take place between 8am and 6pm and unfortunately, will cause some additional disruption. Discussions are ongoing at the moment to minimise these impacts and the council will keep residents informed as the works plan develops.

Once the ground investigations are complete, the stability of the slope will be modelled to estimate the volume of material which may still fail and inform the design of a solution.

The landslip first occurred overnight on November 28 last year, depositing debris on the B9123 Harbour Road.

It has been closed since due to the risk posed by the insecure hillside. Temporary protection was put in place, and the road was reopened for a short time. However, further slippages meant the decision had to be taken to close the road again.  

Supervised openings are being arranged to allow vehicular access to the village until an engineering solution has been developed.

Concrete blocks currently being used to close off the road during the periods of closure are due to be replaced by barriers in due course. This will ease the opening and closing procedures.

In addition Emergency services will have a key for access, which will be made much easier by the gates.

Head of Roads, Landscape and Waste Services, Philip McKay, said: "It is extremely unfortunate that the road layout in Gardenstown means closure of Harbour Road at this location prevents all vehicular access to the New Ground, the harbour area and Seatown. The closure is certainly causing considerable disruption for those living and working below the road closure.

“However, the slip is deep and extensive and unfortunately there is no quick or easy solution to a landslip like this. From time to time we have had to deal with landslips impacting on public roads across Aberdeenshire, but this one is perhaps the most complex we have had to deal with.

"Ground investigations are due to start next week, expected to take four weeks to complete. The information we gather from this work will be essential as we work towards a permanent solution. Unfortunately, these works will be disruptive and I hope residents will bear with us and appreciate that it is a vital part of moving us forward.

"I fully appreciate that the situation is frustrating for those affected and I sympathise with the predicament they find themselves in through no fault of their own.

“At this stage we cannot open the road on an unrestricted basis as we cannot guarantee public safety.  We will look to extend the days where supervised openings are done, and hope that this goes some way to reducing, albeit not removing, the impact.”

Timeline of events at Gardenstown so far:

28.11.17 - landslide occurred
4.12.17 - Rock cleared from road
5.12.18 - initial engineer inspection
6.12.17 - conditions worsen and road has to be closed
12-16.12.17 - further debris cleared from site
22.12.18 - road reopened
29-31.12.18 - road closed following further movement
4-5.1.18 - engineers undertake slope inspection
13/14.2.18 - investigatory work begins on permanent solution.