Weak Berkeley Bridge on the A38 to be replaced
Gloucestershire County Council is giving advance warning to motorists that work will take place between August and November, with a full road closure from 6th to 15th September.
Two road bridges cross the railway line at Berkeley. One is an old stone bridge which carries traffic south and the other was built as a temporary structure in the 1970s to carry traffic north.
In 2013, a routine inspection found the northbound bridge was weak and a 30mph speed restriction was put in place to reduce pressure on the structure.
The northbound bridge now needs to be replaced with a permanent structure so that it remains safe.
The work, which will begin in August and finish in November, is being funded by the LEP Growth Deal with £1.99m and a further investment of £450,000 from Gloucestershire County Council.
The work must include a ten day closure of the road in both directions from Tuesday 6th September to Thursday 15th September while the old bridge is removed and the new bridge is put in place. This is because the crane needed to do the work is so big it will cover both carriageways.
During the closure a signed diversion will be in place.
Two-way traffic will be maintained during the rest of the work using the southbound bridge and controlled traffic lights.
Motorists are being advised to allow extra time and plan their journeys in advance as traffic is likely to be heavier on local roads.
While the old bridge is removed and the new bridge is put in place, the railway line will be closed for 54 hours. The closure will take place over the weekend of 9th to 11th September and Network Rail will make alternative arrangements for commuters wishing to travel between Gloucester and Bristol. More information will be available at www.networkrail.co.uk
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure said, "It's important that we replace the northbound bridge now so that traffic can continue to flow safely though our county. I'm delighted that we're able to secure this important route for the future."
David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP said, "Improving the transport infrastructure throughout the county is a number one growth priority for GFirst LEP, as outlined in our Strategic Economic Plan. The work being undertaken on the Berkeley Bridge will improve connectivity of Gloucestershire both nationally and locally, which is a vital aspect of our counties attractiveness to business and the growth of our economy."
The popular Frampton Country Fair takes place on Sunday 11th September during the full road closure. Visitors to the fair are advised to plan their route in advance and allow extra time for their journey.
Haydn Jones, Director of Frampton Country Fair said "We urge our visitors to think ahead and plan their journey to, what we hope, will be another fantastic day out. We've got an action packed day on Sunday 11th September which will include jousting, falconry, dog training, fishing demos, morris dancers, punch and judy, a tractor parade, Frampton Silver Band, lots of stalls and much more. Please visit http://framptoncountryfair.co.uk for details."
It is hoped that the bridge improvement will help trigger additional investment in the area. Local development, for example the development of Sharpness Docks and the regeneration of Berkeley Power Station, needs a secure transport network.
The replacement bridge will bring long term stability to this important route through the county. The A38 is a strategic diversion route for the M5 at junctions 13 and 14.