County says Westley Rail Bridge is ready to reopen on time

Westley Rail Bridge in Newmarket Road, Bury St Edmunds, should reopen next weekend 

Picture Mark Westley
Westley Rail Bridge in Newmarket Road, Bury St Edmunds, should reopen next weekend Picture Mark Westley
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Bury St Edmunds’ bridge of sighs is expected to reopen on time next weekend – 40 months after it first closed to two-way traffic.

Single file traffic has been running on Westley Rail Bridge in Newmarket Road since December 2013 after it was found to be weak.

For more than three years work was delayed as Network Rail and Suffolk County Council’s contractors tried to find working times to suit both and to get a scaffolding scheme agreed.

The scaffolding finally went up in November and the next stage was to close the road so the road bed on the bridge could be replaced.

The bridge was then closed completely on February 13 for eight weeks but Suffolk County Council says work to reopen it will start on time on Friday April 7 and it will certainly be open by the Saturday morning.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “Despite the extent of the repairs required being more extensive than first anticipated, highways teams have worked hard to get the scheme completed within the original timescale set for the project.

“There is still some work to do, which includes constructing safety barriers, installing new bridge movement joints, grouting to the brickwork, and reconstructing the footpath on the approach to the bridge.”

That means repairing the 200-metre Westley Bridge has already taken two months longer than it took to build the 2.9km Queen Elizabeth Bridge at Dartford.

During finishing works there will still be periods with temporary traffic lights and a return to single file traffic on the bridge between 9.30am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday.

Suffolk County Council revealed earlier this month that when contractors removed the road surface from the reinforced road deck they found it was more badly cracked than expected, but that did not delay work.