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Urgent repairs as large crack found on bridge poses ‘major safey issue’

PUBLISHED: 19:59 02 November 2020 | UPDATED: 19:59 02 November 2020

Work currently undergoing on the bridge to investigate the crack at Colchester's Cowdray Avenue bridge. Picture: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

Work currently undergoing on the bridge to investigate the crack at Colchester's Cowdray Avenue bridge. Picture: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

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Emergency work is taking place to fix a large crack found on Colchester’s Cowdray Avenue bridge - after engineers warned it posed a “major safety issue”.

A picture of the crack, clearly visible below the pilaster on the Cowdray Avenue bridge in Colchester. Picture: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCILA picture of the crack, clearly visible below the pilaster on the Cowdray Avenue bridge in Colchester. Picture: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

The hazard was discovered while work to strengthen the bridge’s retaining wall to the south and west of the Ipswich Road roundabout was being completed.

One of the bridge’s much-recognised pilaster ornamental columns is now being removed to see how serious the damage is.

Residents have been warned that “complex engineering” is needed to check and repair the problems, which is expected to last several weeks - if not months.

Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and cabinet member for infrastructure, said the discovery of the crack was an “unfortunate coincidence” with roadworks in Ipswich Road which aim to improve traffic flow, as well as boost walking and cycling provision.

A graphic of the crack, modelled in 3D, at Colchester's Cowdray Avenue bridge following initial investigations. Picture: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCILA graphic of the crack, modelled in 3D, at Colchester's Cowdray Avenue bridge following initial investigations. Picture: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL

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However, he said: “Thank goodness we have found the crack on the bridge now before it gets any worse.

“As soon as the bridge is fixed, we will finish all works at the Ipswich Road roundabout and re-open a full two lanes of traffic in each direction, as per our improvement plans.

“I absolutely understand that these works have been an inconvenience for many people, and a real issue for some businesses and I thank every single person living and working nearby for your patience and politeness as we have had to overcome several unforeseen engineering issues.”

The repairs are expected to be completed during the winter of 2020/21.

Surveys are planned over the next few weeks, which Essex Highways says will truly reveal of the level of damage.

Engineers have said they will provide updates on how much work is needed as soon as possible.

Current traffic restrictions at the Ipswich Road roundabout provide the space needed to carry out the works safely, without extra road closures.


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