Civils and stations

02.08.07

King Street bridge brought up to strength

Work will soon start on a £1.6 million project by Network Rail to ensure King Street bridge on the A627 in Dukinfield, known locally as The White Bridge, meets current standards for roads passing over railway lines.

A scheme is under way to look at 10,000 road-over-rail bridges nationwide now that 40 and 44 tonnes lorries are permitted on Britain's roads under EU regulations. Any bridges that do not meet the latest criteria will either be strengthened or, if necessary, completely rebuilt. The assessment of King Street bridge, which is made up of five spans, indicated that although two of them should be filled in, one would need refurbishing and the other two would have to be completely rebuilt.

Network Rail's territory civil engineer Tony Wilcock explained the situation: "The bridge itself is perfectly safe for the time being but needs the work to bring it in line with modern-day standards.

"If we don’t do the work, it could mean a permanent weight restriction being imposed that might have an impact on buses, the emergency services and the public."

Preparatory work will start in mid-August but the main work will be carried out the following month. This will necessitate the closure of the road over the bridge from Monday 17 September for approximately 12 weeks. A diversionary route has been agreed with Tameside Council and will be signposted well in advance of the closure.

Arrangements are also being made for the necessary changes to bus services and details will be available shortly. Pedestrians will still be able to use the bridge throughout the work because a temporary footbridge will be built alongside the existing bridge. The demolition and reconstruction phase will see Network Rail using a 500 tonnes crane, which will be situated at the junction of King Street and Dewsnap Lane.

This will mean a short section of Dewsnap Lane will also have to be closed for approximately two weeks from Wednesday 18 October. Network Rail has written to local residents and businesses to advise them of the work.

Tameside Council’s Cabinet Deputy for Technical Services, Councillor Alan Whitehead said: “It is essential that this bridge is strengthened to ensure a satisfactory infrastructure is maintained on this important route through the borough. The current weight-restriction has already affected businesses and any further weight restriction would have serious repercussions for the economy of the area and the borough.

“We are working closely with our public transport partners to minimise any inevitable disruption and also with regard to the changes that will need to be made to bus services. We trust that residents and businesses will appreciate the long-term benefits that this vital improvement will bring.”

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