Wellingborough bridge will NOT re-open, Network Rail confirms

The bridge has been demolished. This was the bridge site yesterday afternoon. NNL-190214-211231005
The bridge has been demolished. This was the bridge site yesterday afternoon. NNL-190214-211231005

A bridge yards from a Wellingborough trading estate will definitely not re-open in April, rail bosses have confirmed.

The Irthlingborough Road bridge, near the Leyland Trading Estate, was demolished at the end of 2018 as part of the railway electrification and Network Rail originally said the road would open by mid-April.

The diversion is just under five miles long. NNL-190214-211357005

The diversion is just under five miles long. NNL-190214-211357005

Earlier today we reported that businesses were furious about the lack of information about the scheme after hearing mixed messages about whether it would open again.

Businesses said the 4.9 mile diversion was causing chaos and hitting their pockets.

This afternoon Network Rail has told the Northants Telegraph the road will not re-open in April and instead they will build a replacement bridge in a slightly different location in Irthlingborough Road. This is not scheduled to be ready until mid-2020.

In the meantime the diversion, which takes people around the edge of Wellingborough and down Sidegate Lane, will continue.

It will remain in place until Route 4, a bridge linking Midland Road and Irthlingborough Road as part of the Stanton Cross development, opens later this year. An exact date for this has not yet been confirmed to the Northants Telegraph.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Given the location of the Stanton Cross development nearby, Network Rail has been liaising closely with the Stanton Cross project team and Northamptonshire County Council regarding plans for replacing the Irthlingborough Road bridge with a like-for-like structure.

“The Stanton Cross project team has agreed terms with Network Rail for the construction of a new, improved bridge over the railway that represents a better long-term solution for the area.

“The new bridge will incorporate a footpath as well as a cycleway and provide an improved a link to the A45.

“Work will also take place to improve the alignment of Irthlingborough Road to better connect with the new structure and remove the need for the traffic light controls that were required over the old bridge.

“The design of the new bridge is expected to complete in Autumn 2019 and construction scheduled to finish in mid-2020.

“A temporary bridge is in place for pedestrians and cyclists and will remain so.”

The spokesman thanked motorists and those nearby for their patience.

They said: “Whilst we believe this is positive news that will benefit the area over the longer-term, we appreciate the disruption caused and we would like to thank motorists and neighbours for their patience whilst this work takes place.”

Paul Cousens, manager at Wellingborough Tyres on the estate, said: “We have been lied to.

“All of the signs said it was a 26-week closure but it seems they care more about the housing developers than the existing businesses on the estate.

“When was this decision made and when would we have found out about it if we hadn’t kicked up a fuss?

“I would like a representative of Network Rail to come here and tell me why this is a good idea.”