Finchingfield Bridge – Questions and Answers (October 2020)
1. Can Finchingfield Bridge be repaired rather than removed and rebuilt?
It is an old bridge, some elements approximately 200 years old in a deteriorating condition. The bridge is also weak and cannot be strengthened to sustain the required loading. It is regularly struck by passing vehicles due to its narrow construction. These factors have been considered in opting to pursue reconstruction.
2. How long will it take to carry out rebuilding works to Finchingfield Bridge?
Once the final bridge design has been formalised and a contractor has been appointed for the works, we will have a better indication of construction timescales. In the meantime we are considering road closure of between six and nine months.
3. What will a new bridge look like – will it be wider?
As reported in 2018, the 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. We anticipate reinforced concrete will be used in the core construction of the bridge, but with brickwork cladding installed to offer an outward appearance similar to the existing structure.
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.
4. Are further road closures needed before the main works?
At this stage we have obtained sufficient information to complete a new bridge design and have no current plans to close the bridge for further investigations.
5. Where will the contractor’s compound be based for the main works?
Essex Highways will identify locations where their site compound/facilities can be located to ensure we minimise disruption to the local area as much as is reasonably practicable. However, it is likely that the areas of village green will be utilised.
6. How will the areas of village green be protected and/or repaired, after the works?
Once a contractor has been appointed for the works, we will seek professional advice on how best to deal with this issue. It could be possible, that areas of the village green and features within it could be removed and stored safely, before being reinstalled once the works have been completed, like we did in October 2019.
7. Will there be a pedestrian footway on the new bridge?
There are no plans to include a footway as part of the project.
8. Will a temporary vehicle crossing be provided whilst the bridge is replaced?
Trial hole investigations were carried out in late October 2019 to determine the precise location and depth of utility services in and around the village green areas. The investigation works have shown that it is technically feasible to install a temporary vehicle crossing across the village green. We continue to explore this as an option with the Parish Council.
As part of the temporary crossing option, various planning approvals will be required for the use of the village green areas.
9. What material will be used on the hard standing areas on the new bridge?
This has not yet been decided, however it is something that members of the community can influence. We will continue to work closely with the Parish Council, to establish what material the community would prefer. Feedback from the recent public information event was that granite setts or cobbles may be preferred.
10. Are the hard standing areas going to encourage members of the public to walk over the bridge?
No and this is one reason why the hard standing areas will remain narrow in width. The hard standing areas have been introduced to protect the bridge parapets.
11. What bricks will be used as part of the replacement bridge works?
Our intention is to use the same bricks that were used in August 2020 when the parapet repairs were completed. These bricks are a close match in texture and colour to the bricks that were used to build the original bridge, some 200 years ago.
12. Has any consideration been given to pre-fabrication of reinforced major components when constructing the new bridge?
Yes, however the use of pre-fabricated materials will depend on how other construction complexities are resolved. Where possible, pre-fabricated materials will be used in efforts to reduce the overall construction programme
13. Can affected businesses make a claim for loss of income as a result of the construction works?
We will work with local stakeholders to try and minimise the impact on businesses and residents by completing the work without delays. However, when a highway authority or statutory undertaker carries out works under its statutory powers or duties, it is not liable to pay compensation for loss of trade. Traders have no right to any particular level of passing trade: business may fluctuate for a number of reasons.
Highway works benefit the whole community, including businesses and others who, while they might be adversely affected in the short-term, will benefit in the long-term. The highways authority has a statutory obligation to maintain the highway to a reasonable standard for the benefit of all road users.
14. Where will the latest information be advertised about future works?
We will continue to post updates about our proposals on both this and our Finchingfield Bridge, B1053, Finchingfield webpage.
Please check the Document Section at the bottom of the webpages where supplementary information will be published as it becomes available.
Details will also be shared with local parish councils about future works.
To share your feedback on future proposals please contact either Finchingfield Parish Council, or Essex Highways by email.
For details about other works in the area you can visit One.Network, or follow the Essex Highways twitter feed: @essexhighways.