Finchingfield Bridge reopen following the completion of brickwork repairs

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Brickwork repairs to Finchingfield Bridge have been completed and the B1053 has been fully reopened to traffic, with no plans for a closure on 20 March 2024.

Temporary daytime closures of the structure have been necessary this week to repair damage caused by vehicle strikes.

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Finchingfield Bridge, B1053, Finchingfield

Works location and photos

Finchingfield Bridge
Finchingfield Village Green

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An outline of our proposed future plans for Finchingfield Bridge in Finchingfield.

The current position

Finchingfield Bridge carries the B1053 over the village pond. It is an old bridge, approximately 200 years old in a deteriorating condition that needs to be dismantled and rebuilt.  

Following some initial proposals shared by Essex Highways in 2016, new design options were subsequently explored in discussion with Finchingfield Parish Council, Braintree District Councillors and County Members.  

Together, we aim to deliver a scheme that safeguards the bridge crossing for the future as well as protecting iconic views of the village.  Key stakeholder groups will be invited to engage with us to help build plans to ensure that, if works go ahead, disruption is minimised.

Any scheme proposal will be subject to developing a detailed works programme, and to meeting the usual planning consents and other legal obligations.

The Parish Council and District and County Councillors agreed that Essex Highways should start the necessary site investigations in order for a replacement bridge to be built. Site surveys has subsequently been carried out to inform future detailed design work to progress a future scheme.

Our future intention is to dismantle the existing structure and replace the bridge with one built in the same location with a very similar look to the existing bridge. 

It is proposed the current width between the bridge walls will be maintained between new kerbs and a narrow hardened verge to offer some protection to the bridge parapets.  These proposals will lead to a bridge that will be up to 1.5 metres wider overall, but maintaining the same road width, so that the bridge continues to act as a traffic calming feature.

There are no plans to include a footway as part of the scheme.  

Our plans will be subject to necessary legal permissions and obligations being met and planning permission being granted.  We will continue to work with Finchingfield Parish Council throughout this process.

Why does the bridge need replacing?

Finchingfield Bridge is an old bridge with some elements approximately 200 years old. The existing pond side elevation is a patchwork of constructions, the arch and buttresses dating to the early 20th Century and the wingwall to the west and parapet over the bridge from the 80’s and the eastern wingwall substantially repaired in 2000’s. More recently Essex Highways, have reconstructed the upstream spandrel and parapet due to its poor condition. The 1980’s and work in the 2000’s were all required through impacts from passing traffic. The oldest elements of the bridge are not visible to the public, these are the arch and abutments at the upstream end.

Independent assessments have confirmed the oldest part of the bridge arch is weak and unable to sustain the required loading (weight capacity) within acceptable safety factors. We monitor the bridge to ensure its safe use, however this is an interim measure whilst we plan to replace the bridge. The overall condition of the bridge is poor and will continue to deteriorate without intervention. Not helped by the regular impacts from passing vehicles, due to its narrow construction. 

All of these factors have been considered when opting to pursue the removal of the existing bridge, and replacing with one of similar style, albeit slightly wider to provide protection to the bridge parapet and adjacent building, improving safety in the process. The width between new kerbs will be similar to that currently existing between the parapets.

Full details are contained within the Planning Application’s supporting documents, with a selection of reports and independent assessment also included in the Document Section of our Future Plans for Finchingfield Bridge webpage.

Further information

Our intention is to post the latest information and any updates to this webpage and social media via our @essexhighways twitter feed, as well as sharing with the Parish Council and local councillors.