MoD to foot £14million bill to replace defective bridge

Winterstoke Road over the bridge and near the new roundabout. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Winterstoke Road over the bridge and near the new roundabout. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has given the council more than £10million to replace one of Weston’s busiest bridges, which is in danger of collapsing.

At full council meeting on Tuesday evening, North Somerset Council agreed to take possession of Winterstoke Road bridge which will become part of its highways portfolio as it is better placed to care for and maintain the structure.

An inspection of the bridge in December found it to have significant defects, which has resulted in a weight limit of 7.5 tonnes begin imposed, forcing traffic to be rerouted.

Then deputy leader, Cllr Elfan Ap Rees said the council had been in discussions with the MoD over the replacement of the important structure for some time and was hopeful a resolution was close at hand.

He said: "The MoD's allocation of funds will enable work to start very soon on finding a long-term solution with a new bridge.

"However, in the meantime, the bridge has some significant defects and we need to reduce the strain placed on it while we negotiate a long-term solution."

The MoD has given the council £10.8million for replacement works. Although these are likely to cost an estimated £15.6 million in total, the MoD has given assurances to the council that it will cover the full cost of the works.

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It will also give the council a further £2.6million to maintain the bridge for the next 120 years.

However, the council has said it will stump up £50,000 for improvements to the adjacent footpath and cycle way.

A further £400,000 has been earmarked by the council to allow design for the design process to get underway as soon as possible.

While not directly linked to the bridge work, the project will be used as part of a match funding bid to secure a further £6million from the Department of Transport to resurface the whole of Winterstoke Road.

Cllr Mark Canniford asked if new traffic lights could be considered for the entrance to the Coronation estate as part of the works since the current turning is a difficult one and often creates significant traffic in the area especially during rush hour.

The council unanimously approved the plans.

The new bridge is set to be completed in 2023.