Broken river bridge set to be fixed


A broken river bridge which has been causing problems to boats and trains in Norfolk and Suffolk is set to be fixed.

Somerleyton swing bridge in Suffolk can currently only be opened using a temporary winch system because the central pivot mechanism is damaged.

Since the damage was detected earlier this year it has been taking longer for the bridge to open to let boats pass which has affected train times.

Network Rail will carry out a week-long £1.6m work programme from 23 October.

Engineers will replace the central swing bearing and the wheels supporting the bridge.

The river was due to close completely but the Broads Authority have negotiated certain times for boats to pass.

A 'challenge'

Some train services will be replaced by bus services.

Train services using the bridge were suspended for 10 days in January while temporary measures to allow periodic opening were carried out.

Broads Authority director of waterways, Trudi Wakelin, said: "We are very disappointed that Network Rail has not done more to accommodate the needs of boaters.

"However, we feel we need to bite the bullet to secure the long term future of Somerleyton bridge."

Andrew Munden, Network Rail route director for Anglia, said: "Running a twenty-first century railway on Edwardian infrastructure is a challenge but it's a challenge we are committed to meeting.

"Although not ideal for the local boating community, I hope they will understand that this work needs to be carried out over the half-term week when the railway is quieter than usual."

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