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Historic Derbyshire border bridge to shut early next month

today26 August 2022 5

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A 200-year-old bridge on the South Derbyshire border will close to traffic from early next month as a major restoration scheme begins. The Grade-II listed Chetwynd Bridge, near Alrewas, will be shut from Monday, September 5 as an eight-month project gets under way to restore the deteriorating ironwork structure.

From this date onwards, an 18-tonne weight restriction will also be permanently introduced. Emergency and essential service vehicles will still be able to use the bridge.

The long-term plan is to replace the structure with a bypass. It will then be turned into bridge for cyclists and pedestrians, Staffordshire Live reports.

Read more: Get the latest traffic and travel news from Derbyshire Live

The bridge takes traffic over the River Tame, A513 Croxall Road, next to the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas. Earlier this year, a structural assessment found that a weight restriction needed to be placed on the bridge to prevent it from deteriorating further and protect people’s safety, Staffordshire County Council has said.

Farmer James Startin spoke to Staffordshire Live when the project was first mooted, and claimed closing it to traffic would spark an “environmental disaster” as it would mean his farm machinery will be forced to take a 20-mile detour to get to his fields and lorries travelling to events at nearby Catton Hall would also have to find alternative routes.

The council is currently designing and plans to build a new bypass road bridge to remove traffic off Chetwynd Bridge, which will become a pedestrian and cycleway bridge.

During the restoration work for the first time the project team will be using solar panels on site to help power the works and support the county council’s commitment to combat climate change.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams said: “Chetwynd Bridge is listed and a historic asset to people in Staffordshire and neighbouring Derbyshire. It has been in need of repair for some time and work is now under way to ensure it is safe to use and in keeping with its historic status.

“An independent structural assessment check which indicated the need for a weight restriction and this will be introduced on September 5. This should however exempt emergency and essential services vehicles. We’re keeping local communities and businesses informed as we carry out the works which includes what we can and cannot do in terms of bridge access.

“We do of course understand this will place an inconvenience on local residents, but we cannot compromise safety. In the longer term, the county council is planning to remove all vehicular traffic from Chetwynd Bridge and put it onto the new bypass road bridge. This will transform Chetwynd Bridge into a cycle and pedestrian route and preserve it for future generations.”

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