Fen Bridge over River Stour in south Suffolk to be replaced later this year

The Fen Bridge being lifted out of the River Stour near East Bergholt and Dedham

The Fen Bridge near East Bergholt as it was being removed - Credit: Paul Cudmore Photography

The Fen Bridge, which links Dedham and East Bergholt in Suffolk, is set to be replaced later this year after it was removed.

The bridge was originally removed by Suffolk County Council in January this year, having been closed since 2020.

But the replacement is due to start in early September, the council said.

A spokesman for the council said: "The process for replacing Fen Bridge requires a great deal of activity; not only the design and fabrication of the bridge, but also how it’s transported, access to the site, the land requirements and obtaining the required environment consents to work over the water course.

In order for a successful bridge replacement in September, the council has outlined several factors that are required for that to happen, including: 

"The ground being at its driest and the risk of flooding being very low.

"Fewer people in the area whilst we are undertaking the works; avoiding the summer holidays will reduce any risk associated with increased footfall alongside the working area/construction access route.

"Less traffic on the B1029 Dedham Road, where access to the site will be required with traffic being controlled using temporary traffic signals.

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"Being able to remediate and re-seed the ground along the line of the temporary access track straight after the works have finished, such that it would be ready for grazing again in Spring 2023 without it having to be fenced off whilst it establishes.

"Most importantly, it removes all costs, risks and challenge associated with working whilst cattle are grazing on the meadows - cattle will be removed from the land as works begin to replace the bridge in September."

Dedham Vale Fen bridge is being taken out and replaced PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

The Fen Bridge crosses the River Stour between Dedham and East Bergholt - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

This is the second time the bridge has been replaced since its collapse in the 1930s, when £14,000 was spent to replace it in 1985, according to the East Bergholt Society. 

It is also one of two bridges over the River Stour currently undergoing work, with Flatford Fen Bridge also recently scheduled for removal.

The Suffolk County Council spokesman added: "We apologise for the inconvenience this closure and removal has caused the local community and visitors, and are working collaboratively to ensure the bridge is replaced as soon as possible.

"The exact timings associated with the replacement are yet to be agreed, however, we will be providing regular updates during the coming months as the programme develops."