Works will keep road closed until 2005

A BUSY link road due to re-open this week after a two-month closure will remain shut until February because of “unforeseen circumstances.”St George's Road railway bridge in Beccles has been closed to road traffic since October because of a £400,000 programme of structural work which should have been completed on Sunday.

A BUSY link road due to re-open this week after a two-month closure will remain shut until February because of “unforeseen circumstances.”

St George's Road railway bridge in Beccles has been closed to road traffic since October because of a £400,000 programme of structural work which should have been completed on Sunday.

But according to Network Rail, which is carrying out the repair work on the 150-year-old bridge with Suffolk County Council, additional work is needed and the closure will be extended for a further seven weeks until February 6.

Town Mayor Jack Walmsley said the continued diversion of traffic through alternative routes via the Ingate level crossing will be a “confounded nuisance.”


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He added: “Because of the growth of housing estates in that area, the road is a major access link onto London Road which runs south of Beccles or into the town centre in the other direction.

“The volume of traffic through other estate roads has increased greatly. It's a confounded nuisance both for those wanting to get in and out of the estates and residents who live on the street.

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“But needs must - the bridge must be made safe.”

A spokesman for Network Rail says it has been in close contact with local residents to provide details of the extended work, which will ensure the bridge conforms to the latest European safety standards.

And the news was welcomed by Kim Francis, a martial arts instructor, who lives next to the bridge.

“We get a lot of boy-racers going flat out over the bridge and we've been campaigning for humps to be put in the road for a long while.

“We're going to have a peaceful Christmas - the workmen can take as long as they like!” she said.

The original work was expected to take only nine weeks to complete but once underway, engineers found that some steelwork was more corroded than thought and required replacement.

The work has been extended by another seven weeks to allow for design and manufacturing requirements, and the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Jon Wiseman, Network Rail Route Director, said: “We apologise to road users for any inconvenience that the extended closure may cause.

“Network Rail is committed to making sure Britain's rail network, including bridges like this one in Beccles, is safe and reliable.

“This will bring long-term benefits to people using the roads and railway in this part of Suffolk.”

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