Dispute over future of Carrow Bridge continues amid new repair work

Norwich viewed from the River Wensum. Carrow Bridge with the Welcome to Norwich sign. Picture: Denis

Carrow Bridge in Norwich. - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

The future of a Norwich river bridge remains unclear, amid an ongoing dispute over whether it should be permanently fixed shut to save money.

Norfolk County Council has spent £150,000 over the past five years to repair the bridge and will spend another £20,000 on it next week.

The council's controlling Conservative-cabinet agreed in March to spend £150,000 next summer to fix the bridge into place, so that reduced movement would cut maintenance costs. That would see a three-week closure of the bridge to traffic.

The council had considered spending more than £2m on a repair scheme which would allow the bridge to keep lifting.

Carrow Bridge in Norwich Picture: Ian Clarke

A dispute over the future of Carrow Bridge in Norwich continues. - Credit: Archant

That would have shut the bridge to traffic for three months, but the cabinet decided on the option to weld it in place for a temporary period of five years.

However, section 61 of the Norwich Corporation Act 1920 states the bridge must be able to open to allow vessels to pass.

So, the plan to weld the bridge in place is opposed by the Broads Authority.

The authority, which would have to grant the council a licence for the work, has said it would be "totally unacceptable" to weld the bridge shut.

Discussions over a way forward are ongoing, but have yet to result in a solution.

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A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: "The county council has developed options for improvement to cut disruption for road users from regular repair work required on the 98-year-old lifting bridge, and is continuing to work closely with the Broads Authority on that important scheme.”

A Broads Authority spokesperson said: "Broads Authority officers are continuing to work with Norfolk County Council to resolve a number of bridge-related issues within the Broads river network."

In the meantime, the latest repairs will be done next week.

It means Carrow Road will be closed to all vehicles while the work is carried out, and will remain closed after the repairs are completed to allow for the surface to dry and set.  

Carrow Road will shut from 7pm on Friday, September 3 to 7am the next day.

It will then shut at 7pm that night (Saturday, September 4) and reopen at 7am on Monday, September 5.

Diversions will be in place.