A County Durham bridge that had to close for health and safety reasons is set to be replaced with a new £2.5 million structure.

Witton Park Bridge, near Bishop Auckland, was closed last summer so that vital repairs and maintenance work could take place.

In July 2018, however, Durham County Council was forced to prolong the closure after the bridge was found to have serious structural problems that could affect the safety of the public.

Since that time, engineers have been considering a number of different options for Witton Park Bridge and it has recently been confirmed that the council will allocate £2.5 million from its 2020/21 budget to tackle the issue.

A plan will now be drawn up, centred around demolishing most of the existing bridge in spring 2020. Provided that the Environment Agency approves, work on a new bridge will start shortly afterwards.

It is estimated that the new bridge will take around half-a-year to construct.

Durham County Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, Cllr Brian Stephens, said, “This is an important crossing for local residents. I am delighted our engineers have been able to identify a solution and that funding has been confirmed.”

The council’s strategic highways manager, Brian Buckley, said, “The works will see us dismantle the existing bridge and replace it with a new bridge deck, whilst retaining the existing piers and supports.”

“This means the new bridge will follow the existing path across the river.”

“It will take time to complete this project and the bridge will remain closed until the new crossing is finished. However, public safety must come first, and we would like to thank residents for their continued patience and understanding.”

The C93 remains closed between Witton Park and High Grange. A signed diversion is in place via the A68 and the village of Witton-le-Wear.

In other County Durham news, renovation work has recently taken place on the remains of a historic railway bridge, which once carried the Stockton and Darlington Railway over the River Gaunless.

(This article’s featured image shows Witton Park Bridge.)


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