Weakened bridge causing traffic chaos in Bury St Edmunds to be fixed by July 2016

Traffic lights on the Newmarket Road bridge over the railway in Bury.

Traffic lights on the Newmarket Road bridge over the railway in Bury. - Credit: Archant

After years of rush hour chaos, a weakened road bridge in Bury St Edmunds should be back up to two lanes by July next year, highways officers have said.

The Newmarket Road bridge over the Cambridge railway line has been restricted to one lane since December 2013 when structural weaknesses were discovered.

A one of the main arteries in and out of Bury St Edmunds from the A14, the temporary traffic lights cause tailbacks every rush hour.

Business leaders, councillors and residents have all previously complained about the disruption, with calls for Network Rail and Suffolk County Council highways to sort out the issue urgently.

Last week the highways contractor Kier, Network Rail (NR) and council officers met to advance the plans.

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A spokesman for the council said: “This is a complex project requiring the input, co-ordination, and approvals from a number of parties. We remain committed to completing the strengthening as soon as possible to enable the traffic signals to be removed, and the road re-opened to unrestricted two-way traffic flow.”

The work is set to involve “substantial” temporary scaffolding on either side of the Westley Rail Bridge.

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The spokesman confirmed that planning for the construction phase was “well advanced” but despite the second anniversary of the one-lane restriction fast approaching, the council was unable to provide a start date for the work.

He added: “The key constraint on the start date of the main works and the detailed construction programme is gaining approval from NR and then obtaining the rail possessions required to undertake the work.

“We are currently negotiating with NR to finalise these issues.”

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