Contractors are on standby to begin resurfacing affected areas of the eastbound section of the A1231. Weather permitting this could allow the road to re-open by Monday.

Skid resistance tests carried out yesterday found that sections of the road surface are still unsafe following the spillage last week. These showed that despite efforts to remove it, the majority of the affected road remains below the level required for it to re-open safely.

The road has been closed eastbound between the Mill House roundabout and the A182 Washington Highway since an HGV spilled some of its load of around two tonnes of a non-hazardous by product of the leather tanning process, along a half mile section of the A1231 last Thursday.

Due to the nature, quantity of the material and the extent and complexity of the recovery operation, specialist contractors were brought in by the company which owns the HGV to carry out the clean-up operation.

Yesterday's tests confirmed this hadn't had enough impact to allow the high-speed road to re-open safely.
Cllr Amy Wilson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: "The condition of the road surface has improved but not to a point where it is safe to re-open the road, particularly given that it is a high speed road.

"This is a critical link in the road network and its closure is causing major inconvenience to the 17,000 people who use it daily, not to mention the knock-on impact on all the other roads that it links to.

"We simply can't afford to have it closed going into next week. That is why we have taken the decision as the local highway authority that the only realistic way of getting the road re-opened quickly is by resurfacing the sections which are still below the necessary safety levels. Public safety is paramount and we have to be sure that the road is safe before it can re-open."

Highway Engineers estimate that in total, around 10,000 square metres of road will need to be resurfaced. This includes:

- Approximately 900 metres of the dual carriageway
- A 300 metre section of the off-slip road
- Some additional areas

The council will be seeking full recovery of the costs incurred.