Catholic Bridge, B1389 Newland Street/Colchester Road, Witham

Advance Notice - 16 October 2018: Catholic Bridge - temporary traffic lights


Plans are in place to install a lane closure with temporary traffic lights on Catholic Bridge from Thursday 18 October (10pm to 5am) for up to 2 nights. This is to allow ground penetration scanning works to be carried out on the bridge. There is also a possibility that some limited short term temporary road closures may be necessary during this time to enable the engineers to scan the centre of the carriageway.

We would like to thank road users for their continued patience while we continue strengthening works to Catholic Bridge.

Works Location





Existing temporary supports


Temporary supports under structure 


Width restriction on Pasture Road


Proposed subway under structure


Catholic Bridge, Newland Street/Colchester Road, Witham


About the scheme:

Catholic Bridge carries the B1389 Newland Street/Colchester Road in Witham and is on the Blackwater Rail Trail, part of a disused Maldon to Witham railway line.

Catholic Bridge was originally constructed in 1848 and consists of eight longitudinal cast iron beams with brick jack arches spanning between the beams.  

Strengthening works have been undertaken at various times, with the installation of trestle supports. The first set of supports was installed during the Second World War and the second set was installed in the 1990s. These supports have been of steel construction and during an inspection in 2014 cracks were identified in three of the cast iron beams. Additional temporary supports were installed at that time and footpath passing under the bridge diverted through the centre.

Plans have now been made to remove the temporary supports and strengthen the bridge by constructing a new single span concrete structure below the existing bridge. Work will also be undertaken to strengthen the parapet walls.  

This scheme will provide a permanent structural solution and allow the continued access under the bridge via the Blackwater Rail Trail.


The works:

The works will be undertaken in a number of phases. Preparatory works start February 2018 followed by the removal of temporary supports and installation of a permanent concrete structure underneath the bridge. 

While we expect the majority of the strengthening works to have limited impact to the road network, works to remove the supports under the structure will require the temporary road closure of the Newland Street/Colchester Road at the bridge.  Closure information will be advertised in advance.  

In order to facilitate a safe diversion route (via Colchester Road, Freebournes Road, Pasture Road, The Grove and vice versa), the permanent physical width restriction on Pasture Road has been temporarily removed, replaced with temporary water filled barriers. These will be removed during advertised closure periods when the route forms part of the official diversion.

The permanent width restriction on Pasture Road will be reinstated later date in the programme. 

Please note that programmed dates may be subject to change, for example if the works are completed earlier than planned, or later if unforeseen issues arise or weather conditions are unsuitable.  The latest updates about the works, including planned road closures will be reflected on this webpage and the @essexhighways twitter feed and on site signage.

Works to reinforce the structure of Catholic Bridge are anticipated to take approximately eight months to complete.


What is involved and how may it affect you: 

Temporary parking restrictions will be necessary on Eastways to support the works. The parking restriction will be from the junction with Black Croft Road towards the south to the end of the road. This section of the road will be closed off during works.

The footpath under the bridge will be closed and pedestrian access will be diverted up and over the bridge while strengthening works take place under the structure.

The temporary road closure of Newland Street/Colchester Road at Catholic Bridge will be necessary during part of the works planned.   Appropriate notifications and diversions will be in place. 

Pedestrian access will be maintained over the road during road closures.


Further information: 

The latest updates about these works will be reflected on site signage and updated to this webpage.  

For details about other roadworks in the area please visit: