Petition to speed up repairs to bridge near Wellingborough gathers pace

Roadworks
Roadworks

More than 800 people have signed a petition calling for repair work on a busy River Nene bridge which has been closed to vehicles since a lorry accident six weeks ago to be speeded up.

Cars, lorries and motorbikes have not been able to use the Hardwater Road bridge in Great Doddington since the crash on May 22.

An online petition to speed up the repair was started at the weekend (July 29) by Conservative county councillors Robert Gough and Martin Griffiths and has already gained 800 signatures.

It is understood that the costs of the works will be covered by insurance, so the county council, which is in severe financial straits, should not have to pick up the bill.

The Hardwater Road Bridge problems come after the county authority has said it cannot afford the £750,000 bill to fix a bridge crossing the River Nene at Oundle and has imposed a weight limit banning lorry use.

The petition, which has already gained 800 signatures, says: “On the 22nd May the bridge was struck by an errant vehicle causing significant damage to the West parapet. It now appears that the earliest the bridge will be repaired will be February 2019. The route is used by residents and businesses in Great Doddington, Wollaston, Earls Barton, Grendon and other local villages and is a bus route for school children. The bridge is also contributing to delays to bin collections in the local area.

“We call on Northamptonshire County Council to accelerate the repair to the bridge to support residents and local businesses.”

Cllr Gough, who represents the Earls Barton ward said the closure was causing problems for residents and businesses and he was hoping that NCC could move the matter forward quickly.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Currently Hardwater Road bridge is closed to all motorised vehicles and is only open to pedestrians and pedal bikes.

“We want to get the repairs to the bridge done as quickly as possible.

“However this is a complex site – with its proximity to the River Nene and adjacent to a site of special scientific interest.

“An environmental assessment including an ecological constraints appraisal and survey is required before any works can commence. This can take up to two months.

“Environment Agency consent is also required for the structure, as work will be taking place over the river. We are currently waiting for approval – this can take up to two months.”