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Coal Authority engineers probe Swansea road collapse

01 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Coal Authority drilling equipment on Dunvant Road, Killay, Swansea, where the ground has collapsed again. Photo by Richard Youle

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

Engineers from the Coal Authority are trying to work out how to prevent a section of road collapsing in Swansea.

Part of Dunvant Road, Killay, has been closed for months while the Coal Authority set up drilling equipment and began exploring what lies beneath.

It said it stabilised a ground collapse which happened under the road in March, monitored the results, and then undertook more detailed investigation work following “further ground movement” in June.

A Coal Authority spokesman said these investigations were continuing. He added: “Once these have been completed, our engineers will design a permanent solution and we will carry out repair works as soon as we can.”

Coal used to be mined in the area, and the Coal Authority said there was a recorded mine shaft nearby, but away from the area of collapse. It’s believed that “shallow coal workings” could be the cause of the long-standing problem.


A Dunvant Road resident said he recalled an incident in 1973 when a car became stuck in a newly-formed dip in the same section of road as currently under investigation. The man, who didn’t want to be named, said the ground – and car – then sunk further. He reckoned the vehicle was around 20ft below the surface of the surrounding carriageway before it was winched out with chains, prior to reinstatement work being carried out.

Dunvant and Killay councillor Mary Jones said she recalled another dip in the same spot around five years ago which was filled in but not covered with Tarmac.

Swansea Council has closed a section of Dunvant Road for 18 months, and Cllr Jones said she had been liaising regularly with the authority. She said her main priority was ensuring there was no land stability concerns for nearby properties and Hendrefoilan Primary School.

“All I’ve been told is that it’s a major engineering job,” said Cllr Jones. “I’m happy as long as the work is done properly and that this will be the end of the problem. It is an inconvenience, but the road is more quiet as there is less traffic.”

Another Dunvant Road resident said the most recent dip in the road in June was just that, rather than a more pronounced sinkhole.

The Coal Authority said it didn’t carry out individual property surveys, but always undertook risk assessments within the immediate vicinity to ensure that a collapse hadn’t spread.

It didn’t know when the Dunvant Road work would be completed, but said it aimed to ensure there was no risk of any further collapse. The spokesman added: “If any residents are concerned, they can contact our customer services team on 0345 7626848.”

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