£2m refurbishment proposed for Carrow Road bridge
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A £2.15m refurbishment scheme has been mooted for a lifting bridge that has risen just twice in three years.
The 98-year-old Carrow Road River Bridge carries the A147 (Carrow Road) Norwich ring road over the River Wensum in Norwich.
Plans for the bridge, which has to be regularly shut for maintenance, are due to be examined at Norfolk County Council cabinet meeting on Monday, March 8.
Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: “We’re looking at options to cut disruption for road users brought by the expensive regular repair work that’s required on the 98-year-old Carrow lifting bridge in Norwich, which was originally designed to allow large vessels access to the now disused port of Norwich.
“Any option would be a short-term fix while a longer-term solution is agreed upon, which depends on future decisions around the Trowse Rail Bridge and wider area.”
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In 1995, the deck was waterproofed and ‘Acme’ plywood deck panels installed.
A report to the cabinet described the panels as an “expensive maintenance liability” because they break up due to heavy road traffic and need to be replaced.
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The council bridge engineers have brought forward two options.
The first would see a £150,000 scheme in summer 2022 which would need approximately a three-week road closure to carry out repairs.
To cut disruption for maintenance, the bridge would be fixed into position so it would not lift, at least temporarily.
Mr Wilby added: “The alternative option would be a £2.15m refurbishment scheme, which would require the road to be closed for around three months, however, this option would allow it to continue to operate as a lifting bridge.”
The council will be seeking views on any scheme from the public and plans would be subject to the approval of the Broads Authority, Mr Wilby said.
Responding to the plans, Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group at County Hall, said he was concerned.
“I’m nervous a temporary closure is a ruse for something that will become permanent,” he said.
“The Port of Norwich feels like an area whose time will come again and is a slumbering asset we need to be able to reinvigorate rather than risk losing permanently.”