THERE will be yet more misery for motorists on the A466 Wye Valley route, with up to nine weeks of road closures.

It has been closed by Gloucestershire Council on the Forest of Dean side of Bigsweir Bridge for six weeks from Monday, March 1, to April 9 to stabilise a landslip embankment.

And Monmouthshire highways are also planning to close the road between Tintern and St Arvans for more stabilisation work from April 6 to May 2 - a section that was closed for three months for cliff face repairs in summer 2019.

Drivers will have to take alternative routes, while traders hoping to relaunch businesses from lockdown in the spring may also be hit.

Rocks are falling onto the road from a fractured rock face at Bigsweir, say Gloucestershire highway officials.

The work will involve scaling the embankment back to remove loose rock and soil, and the bank will then be netted and pinned.

A Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “The initial site survey has assessed that the area of the landslide is not stable to leave as it is and would be a risk to road users, which is why the temporary barriers and traffic lights have been installed. Therefore, a remedial solution to stabilise the slope and make this section of road safe is required. The works are planned to be completed by 9 April 2021, allowing all traffic management to be removed in this area.

“We will be stabilising the embankment using a grid pattern of metal bars into the slope covered by a high grade steel mesh. The machinery to install these metal bars will need space that covers more than one lane of the road; therefore it is not possible to keep the road open during these works.

“This means the road closure will be in place 24/7 - this is for the safety of the road users and our workforce.

“There will be no access for through traffic between Redbrook and St Arvans, however a diversion route suitable for all types of vehicles will be clearly signed. Local access on either side of the road closure will be maintained.”

No sooner will that work be finished, but Monmouthshire Council are planning to close the road between Tintern and St Arvans for a month – a time window partly chosen to avoid disturbing hibernating bats.

A council spokesperson confirmed: “The work, to protect road users from dangerous rock fall, is planned to commence on April 6. It is anticipated that the project, which will involve rock being removed, will require a four-week full road closure.Following this period it is expected there will be a further two-week period during which there will be a single lane closure, with traffic lights controlling passage through this section of the road.”

Councillor Jane Pratt, MCC cabinet member for Infrastructure, said: “It is essential we undertake these important safety works as efficiently and quickly as possible.It will however be subject to final approval from Welsh government and contractors being able to meet the resource required to complete the works safely owing to potential impact of Covid-19 on their workforce.’’

“We have had to time the works to avoid disturbing bats while they are hibernating.

“We sincerely appreciate the inconvenience that the road closure will bring to residents travelling through the area, but we must undertake this essential work to keep road users safe.

“There will be a diversion in place, details of which will be widely publicised nearer the time, and we are grateful to the local community for their patience and understanding.

“We will be continuing to work with local businesses to support them as needed.”.

Access from the Monmouth side to Tintern will still be possible.