Merton Council’s Cabinet last night gave the go-ahead to demolish and re-build Bishopsford Bridge following its partial collapse into the River Wandle following heavy rainfall last June.
Work is now set to start within weeks with the aim of re-opening it to traffic as quickly and safely as possible with demolition is due to start in March – April with work starting in the summer to build the new bridge with completion set for the spring of 2021.
Prior to rebuilding, a consultation on the design of the new bridge will be held with local residents and businesses as a new bridge requires planning permission along with ecological surveys as it is located in a conservation area.
The replacement of the bridge has been a complex process due to the fact it contributes to river flow and has a range of utilities running through the structure – including gas pipes and broadband cabling. We also require permission from the Environment Agency for undertaking work on the bridge
Even removing the damaged parts of the structure will need to be partly done by hand, to avoid further safety risks and to ensure the remaining utilities are not damaged.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Transport, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “I completely understand the considerable frustration of residents and businesses in the area over the length of closure and we are doing everything possible to speed up the process of re-opening it.
“As a council we have had to assess the structural damage caused by the collapse and the potential engineering solutions to get it re-opened again which has taken longer than hoped.
“We are determined to get it open as soon as possible which is why we are committed to a £2.7 million investment in the local infrastructure which involves re-building the bridge rather than opting for a quick-fix solution which may have meant further work having to be carried out in a few years’ time causing further disruption.
“Any work of this nature is very complex due to utilities running through the bridge, along with the fact that the Environment Agency also needs to agree any proposals due to flooding risk.
“As a council we are also committed to working with residents and businesses during the rebuilding and will be publishing regular newsletter updates on progress along with consulting local residents about the design of the new bridge.”