Thousands sign petition calling for work on Wellingborough bridge

Road closed
Road closed

A petition to speed up repairs to a damaged bridge between two Wellingborough villages has reached just short of 2,000 signatures.

Hardwater Bridge has been closed to traffic since May when it was hit by a lorry.

At last week’s full council meeting the county councillor who represents the area, Cllr Robert Gough, presented a petition to the authority signed by many angry residents and said the closure was causing problems for local people and adding huge amounts to journey times.

But the road, which crosses the River Nene between Wollaston and Great Doddington, will not re-open until at least February.

An update report by Kier, which has the highways contract for the county’s roads, said: “An environmental assessment including ecological constraints appraisal and survey is required before any works can commence. Depending on the time of year, the survey can take one to two months and will look for evidence of protected species within the vicinity of the bridge.

“Should evidence be found then further studies/mitigation works could be required. Environment Agency consent is required for the structure, as we are working over a main river, the agency has two months from receipt of our application to approve our proposals.

“Subject to the consents/approvals process going smoothly the estimated start on site date is January / February 2019.”

Works, which are will be paid for by an insurance claim, will include the replacement of the west parapet and additional work to the approach to the bridge.

The report also says: “Damage caused by poor/careless driving is having a significant impact on bridges within Northamptonshire.

“At present we have 11 (including Hardwater Bridge) major vehicular impact damage schemes, plus 16 minor guardrail repairs, damage again caused by vehicular impact. Added to which we have the ongoing bridge maintenance programme to help to prevent the bridges deteriorating further. While the impact damage is prioritised over the bridge maintenance programme it is still important to carry on with maintenance work. All of which is being undertaken with very limited resources.

“We are aware that the bridge provides an important access between Great Doddington and Wollaston to the A45, we are expediting the works as much as is possible.”

Sarah Ward, Local Democracy Reporter