Road closure of Run Common Road, Cranleigh

Background:

Run Common Road was initially closed due to cracks opening in the surface due to subsidence west of the bridge which takes the road over the disused railway.

The road remains closed as during investigation it was identified that the likely cause of the subsidence was a badger sett that had undermined the embankment supporting the road, therefore causing it to collapse.

Badgers are a protected species in law, and we are unable to disturb their habitat without permission from Natural England, and if we do, this can only be done at certain times of the year.

We have used ground penetrating radar to "look" through the road surface at the voids beneath and we can see that the damage to the road extends beyond the centre of the road. As a result, we are unable to open it to traffic in either direction, or with traffic lights.

Heavy rain or the passage of large vehicles could continue to weaken the embankment, causing it to slip further.

Works progress to date:

We are currently progressing on three fronts:

  • We are working with our design partners to understand how the embankment failed and design a solution to enable us to put it back.
  • We are working with Surrey Wildlife Trust to discover more about the badger sett and their interaction with the local area to see how we can rebuild the road whilst retaining as much of the badger habitat as possible.
  • We are discussing with Natural England how best to get the road open whilst protecting the badgers and complying with the law.

We have several potential solutions to reconstruct the road, but our investigation of the badger habitat is ongoing. We will then need agreement from Natural England on our proposal and license from them to interfere with the badger sett before we can appoint a contractor to proceed with the works.

The licences are typically not granted for works between November and July, so we have a narrow window in which to work. If we are unable to reach an agreement with Natural England which allows us to disturb the sett before November of this year, we may have to wait.

It is therefore possible that the road will remain closed for much of this year, and possibly into 2021.