Expect delays as �250,000 bridge repairs on A142 from Mepal to Chatteris get under way

A TENTH of the county council’s 2011 budget for bridge maintenance is to be spent at Mepal near Chatteris.

Contractors working on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council are about to start work strengthening Hiam’s Bridge which carries traffic on the A142 between Mepal and Chatteris.

The council says the 50 year-old bridge has been undermined by water flowing beneath it and the shrinking of the surrounding fen soil over the last half century

The work, expected to cost around �250,000, will see new concrete box sections lowered into place and pulled beneath the bridge deck to allow traffic to keep flowing on the road above.

A 40 mph speed limit will be put in place and temporary traffic lights will be used during the work which starts on October 10 and will take six weeks to complete. The traffic signals will operate between 9.30 am-3.30 pm to avoid peak periods.

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A council spokesman said: “The bridge is in an ecologically sensitive area and the new structure has been designed to include an otter tunnel, bat houses and kingfisher nesting boxes.”

The county council says bridge maintenance continues to be important, not only to safeguard “structural integrity but also to avoid deterioration which would inevitably lead to much more costly work in the future or possible restrictions on use.

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“This is particularly true of many of the older bridges, some of which are listed structures or designed as scheduled ancient monuments.”

Part of the �2.45 million in this year’s budget has been spent on strengthening and refurbishment of Freedom Bridge, Wisbech and on the flood wall, Nene Quay, Wisbech.

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