County Durham’s Witton Park Bridge, near Bishop Auckland, will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
The bridge will stay closed because of safety concerns as engineers have discovered serious structural flaws.
Witton Park Bridge was originally to be closed for just 20 weeks – beginning in mid-July this year – so that Durham County Council could partially rebuild, paint and clean the structure.
But it has now been discovered that the bridge – which spans the River Wear – can no longer safely withstand the weight of traffic. The bridge will, therefore, remain closed to all vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians until further notice.
Durham County Council’s strategic highways manager, Brian Buckley, said, “We know that this extended closure will cause some inconvenience, but safety must come first.”
“We’d like to thank residents for their continued patience and understanding while we undertake a detailed assessment of the issues identified and determine the most appropriate way forward.”
Temporary scaffolding is currently around the bridge, put up to facilitate the minor repairs that the council thought were needed. However, this scaffolding is due to be removed today (October 31st) while fences will be installed to restrict access to the bridge.
The council plans to conduct investigations into the bridge’s structural problems over the coming months in order to understand the full extent of the damage and determine the best ways to repair it.
The C93 between the villages of Witton Park and High Grange will remain closed while investigations and repairs on the bridge are ongoing. The signed diversion which is in place via the A68 and the village of Witton-le-Wear will continue.
To get up-to-date information on roadworks and temporary road closures in County Durham, please go to www.durham.gov.uk/traffic.