Spalding Western Relief Road and Two Plank Bridge closure made to wait as Lincolnshire County Council edge closer to land deals
Council bosses are ‘edging closer’ to getting a deal in place that would allow work to finally begin on building Spalding’s new relief road.
Residents are eagerly waiting on news of this decision because the start of construction work on the new route - off Pinchbeck Road - will also mean that Two Plank Bridge will shut for 18 months as part of the project.
The footbridge, which spans the Vernatt’s Drain, is popular among dog walkers and used by schoolchildren during term time.
The council insists a long closure is essential for health and safety reasons - but residents are baffled as to why it needs to shut for so long.
They plan to stage a protest when the closure finally begins - to restate their continued opposition - having fought the plan with a 1,000 signature petition.
John Batterham, of Angelica Drive, said: “We have accepted the fact that it’s got to happen, we have gone past that.
“We are just waiting to see what they are going to do and when.
“It’s now four weeks since they wanted to close the bridge and for the last three weeks they have done absolutely nothing.”
Two Plank Bridge was supposed to shut on July 17 until ‘winter 2022’.
It was given a stay of execution while the county council tries to secure the land agreements it needs to begin building the road.
The council has been trying to tie these up since the spring but believes this process is almost finished.
In the meantime, contractors have been engaged in preparatory work while they way to get the green light on the main project.
Coun Richard Davies, county executive member for highways, said: “We’ve been working hard over recent months to finalise land agreements for the north section of the relief road project.
“These have been agreed in principle on the county council’s end, and the documents now sit with other parties to agree.
“Although this process is taking longer than expected, we believe we’re edging ever closer to an agreement.
“In the meantime, Eurovia is continuing with work on-site so they can hit the ground running with main construction as soon as they can.”
If land deals are not signed by the end of September, it’s likely that Western Power Distribution will soon need to shut the footbridge for up to a day to carry out ‘overhead line diversion works’.
This is slated to happen between September 20 and October 1 - but no specific date has been set
The current wooden bridge is set to be replaced with a larger steel structure.
Residents fear that the alternative footpaths are unsuitable and will lead to schoolchildren having to walk along the busy Pinchbeck Road instead.
This section of the relief road will connect to Spalding Road via a five way roundabout. It will end at a T junction next to the Vernatt’s Drain, with a plan to eventually connect it up to Spalding Common and bypass the town.
The Spalding Western Relief Road scheme has been awarded £12 million from the Government’s housing infrastructure fund.