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Councillors agree bridge replacement
1:00pm Thursday 25th October 2012 in News
A LANDMARK Evesham bridge is going to be replaced after politicians said it would provide a major shot-in-thearm for the town.
The Abbey Bridge will close for 10 weeks next year so contractors can replace it with a completely new £12.6 million structure.
The project, which has been in the pipeline for several months, was approved at a meeting of the county council’s planning committee.
Traders had previously objected amid fears it would cripple trade, but despite the work taking a full year to complete, the bridge will only be shut to traffic in June, July and the first fortnight of August next year.
Councillor Bob Banks, who does not sit on the planning committee but spoke out in his role as an Evesham representative, said: “There have been those who have made many difficulties with this scheme, and I regret that.
“I believe the county council’s approach has been very timely, open and extremely straightforward.”
The current bridge was built in 1928 and during the debate councillors were told it risked having to be pulled down unless it was replaced.
Mark Bishop, a planning officer, said: “The fact the bridge will now only be closed for 10 weeks is welcome.
The bridge is getting older and the risk is, at some point it would have to close unless something is done.”
At the moment there is a 7.5 tonne weight limit in place and it is estimated outright closure is only “a few years away” unless it is upgraded.
The work, which will start within weeks and finish in October next year, will be done in three phases.
By the end of it the carriageway will be two metres wider, while the footpaths will be half a metre wider.
The entire bridge will last 120 years, and it will be built out of reinforced concrete.
During the 10-week closure drivers from the south will be diverted from the High Street via Oat Street, Mill Street and then Bridge Street. Motorists from the north will be re-routed via Waterside, Bridge Street, Mill Street and Swan Lane onto the High Street.