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Finchingfield Bridge, B1053, Finchingfield

Progress Update - 27 March 2019: Finchingfield Bridge - progress update

The structures team have successfully gathered findings from trial holes investigations last month and will use this information to create designs for foundations and for a new bridge, which is intended to have a very similar look to the existing bridge. The findings have also identified additional works will be required to separate the bridge from adjacent properties.

We are reviewing measures that were put into place during the five day closure to help us with future works in the area and have been listening to concerns raised regarding loss of trade due to a reduction in traffic and visitors to the village.  This includes requests to consider a temporary bridge when the current bridge is removed and rebuilt.

While we cannot guarantee the installation of a temporary bridge as an outcome at this stage, we do recognise that there are advantages that a temporary bridge could bring to the travelling public. We have, therefore, agreed to revisit this as an option for consideration and bring proposals to the parish and district council in the coming months.

Any proposals for a temporary bridge will create new challenges and practical matters for the structures team, the Parish and District Councils and the community to consider with the temporary loss of the green. These include, but are not limited to, obtaining the additional legal and planning consents that would be necessary for the use of Common Land as well as permission from the Environment Agency and the Government’s Planning Inspectorate, which can take considerable time.

Should Essex Highways, Finchingfield Parish, Braintree District Council and the community support a temporary bridge and all the consents including Common Land permissions agreed, then additional ground investigations would be required to assist in the foundation design of a temporary bridge and highlight any utility services that require diverting. Due to Environment Agency restrictions to work in or near a watercourse, the earliest window of opportunity to begin these works would either be later in 2019 or early 2020, subject to their approvals and arrangements being in place.

We look forward to continuing to work with and seek active co-operation from the community, Parish and District council to facilitate any future Finchingfield Bridge replacement works, this includes seeking an agreed way forward identifying temporary car parking that can be allocated during any main works which the parish and community supports.

Works Location

 

Photos

 

Caption text

The current position

Finchingfield Bridge carries the B1053 over the village pond.  It is an old bridge, approximately 200 years old in a deteriorating condition that needs to be dismantled and rebuilt.  

Following some initial proposals shared by Essex Highways in 2016, new design options have been explored in discussion with Finchingfield Parish Council, Braintree District Councillors and County Members.  

Together, we aim to deliver a scheme that safeguards the bridge crossing for the future as well as protecting iconic views of the village.  Key stakeholder groups will be invited to engage with us to help build plans to ensure that, if works go ahead, disruption is minimised.

Any scheme proposal will be subject to developing a detailed works programme, and to meeting the usual planning consents and other legal obligations.
The Parish Council and District and County Councillors agreed that Essex Highways should start the necessary site investigations in order for a replacement bridge to be built. These site surveys were carried out in February 2019 to inform future detailed design work to progress a future scheme.

Our future intention is to dismantle the existing structure and replace the bridge with one built in the same location with a very similar look to the existing bridge. 

It is proposed the current width between the bridge walls will be maintained between new kerbs and a narrow hardened verge to offer some protection to the bridge parapets.  These proposals will lead to a bridge that will be up to 1.5 metres wider overall, but maintaining the same road width, so that the bridge continues to act as a traffic calming feature.

There are no plans to include a footway as part of the scheme.  

On site investigations completed February 2019

Structures engineers successfully completed investigation works during a five day closure of Finchingfield Bridge during the February school holiday to provide additional important data to enable us to progress a new bridge design.

We would like to thank local communities, in particular residents and businesses of Finchingfield for their patience during the temporary road closure.

It is important that we now take time to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures put into place during the five day closure.  These arrangements included the formal diversion route, shuttle bus service and provision of temporary parking as well as listening to the concerns raised by the people of Finchingfield including the reduction of traffic, impact on business trade and visitors to the area and safety concerns.

We will continue to work with the community and parish and district council to reassess all options to facilitate any future Finchingfield bridge replacement works, including possible mitigations for local businesses and residents during those works. 

Further information

Our intention is to keep the community informed of progress as the scheme progresses.

We will provide the latest information on this webpage and also share information with Parish and local councillors so they can pass it on too.

You may also wish to follow the Essex Highways twitter feed: @essexhighways.