Work will start later this summer on long-awaited repairs to Geddington Road bridge in Corby after the county council and Tata Steel reached a cost-sharing agreement.
The work will update the bridge to enable it to carry the weight of present day heavy goods vehicles over 40 tonnes.
The agreement will see both parties equally sharing the costs of the repairs, which will return the Geddington Road back to full use, removing the three-tonne weight restriction.
The underlying structure of the bridge was made in 1936 to the maximum capacity of 24 tonnes, the weight of lorries at that time.
This restriction was imposed in January 2011 as a result of concerns over the structural capacity of the bridge following a series of assessments.
Cllr Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “Thanks to the partnership between Tata Steel and Northamptonshire County Council, the bridge will be upgraded from 1936 standards to those of the twenty-first century.
“I’m delighted that we have now reached an agreement and that the work is now imminent. This will be an enormous relief to the people of Corby, businesses and, indeed, anyone who uses the Geddington Road.
“I’m pleased that we have been able to work together with Tata Steel to come to an agreement and reach a situation which everyone is happy with.”
Corby MP Andy Sawford said: “For over three years businesses and residents have been counting the costs of the road restrictions on Geddington Road. This is a vital road link for Corby and a gateway to the town and I have campaigned strongly for the repairs to be carried out so that the road can be fully re-opened to all traffic.
“It is good to hear the county council say that work will start in the summer but we’ve heard these promises before and I intend to keep the pressure up. Our campaign will go on until the day the restrictions end. I will also press the county council to resurface the road because the condition is very poor.”
The bridge was created in 1936 when a railway was built under Geddington Road to serve the steelworks at Corby. The bridge is owned by Tata Steel but the carriageway on top is the responsibility of the county council.
Work to refurbish the bridge will include strengthening the abutments to bring it up to the current standard of 44 tonnes.
Tata Steel will be handling the design and development of the improvements.