Island Roads will begin work to strengthen Wootton Bridge, part of the Island’s strategic road network, next week (Monday 16th November)
It is intended that the project, which is scheduled to last up to 14 weeks, will, on completion, allow the current weight and speed restrictions to be lifted.
The project will involve work to strengthen both the underside of the bridge, where there is severe cracking, and the parapet of this busy bridge, in a sympathetic fashion. The cost of the project is being met by Island Roads under the terms of the Highways PFI contract.
Work is scheduled to begin next week following a complex process in which Island Roads has designed, and sought permissions for, a scheme that is acceptable to the various agencies with an interest in the structure and its surrounding environment.
Island Roads has worked carefully to design a scheme that could be undertaken without the need for a full road closure, however the work will need to be done in two phases during which only one lane will be in use across the bridge at any one time. This will enable the work to be carried out safely both for those working on and beneath the bridge and for passing vehicles. During this time, vehicles will be controlled by traffic lights which can be operated manually during busy times if needed.
In order to complete the work swiftly, and mindful that some aspects are dependent on the tides, the work will be undertaken at times between 7am and 11pm. A special ‘acoustic curtain’ will be deployed underneath the bridge to help reduce noise and light emissions.
Pedestrian access will be retained at all times and the bus stop will be moved to a nearby location during the work.
Scheme engineer Jo Huett said: “Now that the designs have been agreed, we are looking forward to getting on with the engineering scheme to strengthen the bridge.
“From our conversations with residents we know that there is a wish for us to get on site and do the necessary work as quickly as possible and we are pleased to be also able to do so outside of the main holiday season.
“We will take all appropriate steps to minimise disruption but would stress that it is essential for us to be able to regulate traffic as the work will take place both on top of and below the bridge. We are particular grateful to the residents, businesses and parish councils nearby who have been extremely supportive during our planning stages.
“We would like to thank everyone in advance for their patience and hope that they recognise the importance of us being able to complete these works to help keep the bridge operating at its full capacity for years to come.”
Councillor Phil Jordan, Executive Member with responsibility for the PFI, said: “I am very pleased to see the works on Wootton Bridge begin, so that we can re-open this main cross-Island route as soon as possible. I’d like to thank road users for their patience while we’ve worked to find the best solution to maintain this historic structure, and ask them, once again, to remain patient while we get the works done with as little further disruption as possible. I am encouraged that the works should be finished early next year and that is very welcome news indeed.”