Beams for the new bridge over the River Wandle at Bishopsford Road, have been lowered into place. The council’s contractor, Land & Water, used a large crane to lift the reinforced concrete slabs that will form the bridge structure.
The single span river crossing, on the A217, will be wider than the previous three-arch bridge, which had to be demolished for safety reasons last year after partially collapsing in June 2019, following heavy rainfall.
A public consultation will be held this month providing details of new segregated cycle lanes which will run from Bishopsford Road, over the new bridge and along London Road as far as Mitcham tram stop. The cycle corridor project has been developed alongside the bridge works and is funded by the council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). The cycling scheme will also include edits to the cycle lanes on the new bridge. The creation of a comprehensive cycling corridor in tandem with the bridge works was made possible with CIL funding, secured after the bridge obtained planning permission.
Replacing the bridge is a particularly complex task because it influences river flow and has a range of utilities running through its structure. The council has been working closely with gas, electricity, water and broadband providers, as well as the Environment Agency, to reduce the risk of flooding and protect the Wandle.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and the Climate Emergency, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “We now have a bridge structure. Up until now, the construction work has mainly been carried out underground to build the foundations and abutments to support the bridge span, which is now in place across the River Wandle.
“We are committed to reopening the new bridge as soon as possible, as I know the impact that the closure of this major route through Mitcham has had on many residents and businesses.
“It is good news that we have been able to secure funding for a cycle lanes up to Mitcham town centre since planning permission was approved and we hope that this will encourage people to make more journeys by bike.”