Swallows' nest halts bridge work

WORK on the £675,000 replacement of a river bridge is being delayed – because a swallows' nest has been spotted among the girders.The delay in the 19-week contract will mean villagers at Mendham may still be facing a four-mile detour to get to and from home up to Christmas – when bad weather may prevail.

WORK on the £675,000 replacement of a river bridge is being delayed – because a swallows' nest has been spotted among the girders.

The delay in the 19-week contract will mean villagers at Mendham may still be facing a four-mile detour to get to and from home up to Christmas – when bad weather may prevail.

Cost of the project is also likely to rise because contractors have been on site for the past two weeks carrying out preparatory work.

The swallows' nest in the bridge, close to the birthplace of the great painter, Sir Alfred Munnings, is thought to have been noticed by a member of the public and reported to the police.


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It is an offence to knowingly disturb the nest of wild birds.

Suffolk County Council confirmed yesterday that work on the demolition of the bridge was being put on hold until the eggs had hatched and the young swallows had flown off.

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This could possibly take several weeks. Demolition of the existing steel girder bridge, built in 1914, was due to start next Monday .

The bridge has been subject to a three-tonne weight restriction for four years and local farm traffic has had to follow the four-mile detour.

Last year villagers plans by the county council to erect a temporary bridge met with protests from villagers who demanded a permanent solution.

Stuart Naunton, parish council chairman, said the delay was a "shame" because local people had hoped the work would have been completed by the onset of winter.

"It is a bit of a blow because there is a considerable detour, partly along a narrow country lane, and the bad weather may have arrived," he said.

Andrew Guttridge, roads and bridges manager for Suffolk County Council, said there was likely to be a three or four week delay.

"The cost implication is likely to be small compared with the cost of the whole project because the same contractor is doing other jobs for us and it is a matter of moving resources around," he added.

The new Mendham bridge has been designed to imitate the one it is replacing. Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to use a temporary footbridge while the new bridge takes shape.

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