Road closures and diversions

Local roadworks and road closures map

It is sometimes necessary to temporarily close roads and divert traffic via an alternative route. There are several reasons for this, and these include:-

  • Public Safety - To protect the public from imminent danger such as landslips or buildings which have been damaged
  • To protect the road or structures from damage
  • Work on or adjacent to the highway - Sometimes it is not possible to carry out work in or near the road with traffic on the road. For example, the road may be too narrow for the workforce to operate safely alongside traffic
  • Markets - Some markets take place on the public highway, and the road is closed during the market time
  • Sporting events - Roads can be closed to facilitate certain sporting events such as the Brampton - Carlisle road race
  • Demonstrations and parades - The police may close roads to allow such events to pass safely.
  • When the road is likely to be 'thronged' by people - Roads can be closed to facilitate events like the Cumberland Show in Rickerby Park, Carlisle and the May Day activities in Penrith.   

Highway authorities (In Cumbria, this is the county council) have legal powers to temporarily close a road to enable work to be carried out and for public safety. However, the police and district councils also have powers which enable them to close roads and divert traffic.

Work on or adjacent to the highway can be carried out under temporary closures, which can be made by Order for planned work lasting for up to 18 months, or by Notice, which enables urgent works and lasts for up to 5 days.

When we close a road to traffic to enable work to be done on or adjacent to the road, we make every effort to maintain a route through for pedestrians. We also sign the diversion along roads which are suitable for the kind of traffic which would normally use the closed section of road.

As an alternative to closing a road for roadworks, it is sometimes possible to restrict traffic by imposing a temporary weight or width restriction. This can be used where there is sufficient space for cars, but goods vehicles are either too large or heavy for safety.

A road may also be closed immediately by Notice to deal with emergencies.