Bridge replacement costing £15million moves step closer
- Credit: Archant
A £15million upgrade to one of Weston’s busiest bridges has moved a step closer.
North Somerset Council and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have signed an agreement outlining how they will work together to build a replacement bridge crossing the railway line at Winterstoke Road.
The Mercury exclusively revealed in December 2018 the bridge was at risk of collapsing after significant defects were discovered.
Its condition has gradually worsened due to vibrations from rail and road traffic and hit a critical limit.
Cllr James Tonkin, the council’s executive member with responsibility for highways, said: “The signing of this agreement is an important part of the process, to formalise our agreement with the MoD to replace this vital bridge.
“Winterstoke Road and Broadway are essential routes within Weston with many local businesses and communities relying on them to get to their premises and homes, as well as previously being the emergency diversion route for the M5.
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“Our project teams are making great progress on the scheme and are looking to start working with a contractor on designs in the coming months.
“Given our commitment to more sustainable forms of transport, these designs will include improved pedestrian and cycling provision.”
The bridge is in poor condition and is subject to a weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes, which was introduced in December 2018 due to safety concerns.
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The bridge, which runs over the main Bristol to Taunton railway line, dates back to 1941.
It was built to provide access to the military aeroplane factory during World War Two, using emergency wartime powers.
Since then the condition has gradually worsened with ongoing repair no longer an option.
Without replacement, further weight restrictions and full closure will be likely in the next five to 10 years.
In November, the MoD gave the council £10.8million for replacement works and reassured the authority that it will cover the full cost of the works.
MORE: MoD to foot £14million bill to replace defective bridge.
The MoD also committed a further £2.6million to the council for it to maintain the bridge for the next 120 years.
The replacement bridge is set to open in 2023.