Thrapston road bridge repair delayed by high water should be back on schedule
The contractors will work on Saturdays to make up for lost time
Repair work on the bridge linking two communities on opposite sides of the River Nene is back on track after high water levels prevented contractors from accessing the structure.
The six-week repair and strengthening programme, on the part-medieval Nine Arches Bridge in Thrapston over the River Nene on Bridge Street/Kettering Road, started last month.
Scheduled to last five months the first stage of the work has been taking place under the main navigation arch requiring a six-week road closure, with the navigation also closed to river traffic.
Heavy winter rain caused the river level to rise and increased the speed of the current making it dangerous to float the workers' pontoon under the bridge's famous arches but contractors will work at weekends to keep on track with repairs.
Jason Smithers, cabinet member for highways and place for Northamptonshire County Council, said: “Repair and strengthening works on Nine Arches Bridge in Thrapston started on February 15, with a current completion date of July 2021. For the first six weeks, the road over the bridge is closed to all traffic.
“Specialist bridge restoration contractors, working on behalf of Northamptonshire Highways, are undertaking structural repairs and arch strengthening to all nine arches. All the works are taking place under the bridge and the team are working on a floating pontoon to allow them to access the damage to the arches. The brickwork damage is being reinforced with steel strengthening.
"This work was delayed by the recent wet weather, which meant water levels were high and there was a very fast flow stream. The team are now back on the river and will be working on Saturdays to make up for any lost time.
"As long as the weather remains dry and water levels do not increase the works on the main navigation arch will be completed by the end of the month, meaning the road over the bridge can reopen."
Contractors hope that the work will be completed by Monday, March 29 when the road will reopen but more bad weather could result in the work being delayed - the boating season officially starts on April 1.
The navigation channel beneath the bridge has also been temporarily closed to allow the specialist structures team to complete their work safely from a pontoon.
Following the six-week road closure and works to the main navigation arch of the bridge, Northamptonshire Highways will continue their work on the other arches to repair and strengthen - work will take place under the bridge and not affect the road.
During the closure, a diversion has been agreed with Highways England to use the A14 and traffic should access Thrapston at Junction 13.
Drivers will need to use A14 Junction 13 from both east and west directions to access the town.
There will be no vehicle access into Thrapston from the west through Islip, junction 12 of the A14 or from the A6116 from Corby.
From Corby and the A6116 go straight across the roundabout where you would normally turn left into Islip and Thrapston. Join the A14 at Junction 12 and then take the exit at Junction 13.
Access from the A605 from Peterborough, Oundle and the A1 will be as normal, as will the route using the A45 from Rushden, Irthlingborough, Raunds, Wellingborough, Earls Barton and Northampton.
Cllr Smithers added: "A road closure will be required at the end of the scheme for resurfacing. Details will be provided nearer the time.”