A Bradford-on-Avon resident has criticised the length of time it has taken for Network Rail to replace the road over the rail bridge in St Margaret’s Street.

The company recently staged a briefing meeting for locals to explain that work is likely to take until the end of November to complete.

The six-month contract began in September last year and was originally scheduled to end in March this year.

John Holden, of Bradford on Avon, says by the time the work is finally finished, it is likely to have taken the company more than a year to complete.

He said: “Am I alone in finding the length of time taken to execute relatively minor roadworks locally intolerable?

“First, we had the closure of part of the Trowbridge Road in Bradford to allow Network Rail to replace a simple road over-bridge of steel girders on stone abutments, now expected to take 13 months. 13 months? Brunel would have built 50 miles of railway in that time.”

Network Rail has confirmed the work to replace St Margaret’s Street rail bridge will now last until the end of November, following several technical challenges that have arisen during the course of the work.

The bridge, located to the east of Bradford on Avon railway station, is being replaced owing to its condition, which meant that it wasn’t economical to repair and a full replacement was needed.

The replacement was originally scheduled to take six months, with a full road closure in place throughout, alongside a partial closure of St Margaret’s Place public right of way.

However, a number of challenges have unfortunately necessitated a longer closure.

These include the availability of specialist contractors who can divert utilities, periods of industrial action, the extremely cold temperatures experienced last winter, a need for redesign work, and an issue with the pouring of concrete.

The work is now anticipated to continue until the end of November.

Wiltshire Times: Concrete specialists prepare to pour concrete at St Margarets Rail bridge in Bradford on Avon. Photo: Trevor Porter 70053-1Concrete specialists prepare to pour concrete at St Margarets Rail bridge in Bradford on Avon. Photo: Trevor Porter 70053-1 (Image: Trevor Porter)

The next phase of the work is the installation of the steel girders for the bridge which will involve the use of a crane that will be situated on the Junction Road side of the site.

Following the installation, engineers will work on the construction of the bridge deck throughout September, with the final stage of the work to reconnect the original utility pipes taking place from October to mid-November.

Mike Contopoulos, Network Rail’s project director for buildings and civils, said: “We know that this will be disappointing to local residents and I’d like to apologise for the delays to the completion of the bridge replacement work.

“A number of issues, including adverse weather, difficulties in diverting the utilities and challenges with the concrete pour, have meant that this project has had to be extended, which we understand will be frustrating to local residents.

“The project to replace the bridge is one of the last in our region to be carried out under the current system for employing and working alongside contractors.

“Our new model, which will begin next year, will mitigate the kind of issues we have experienced at Bradford on Avon by enabling us to work collaboratively with high-quality, expert, trusted supply chain partners to design, develop and deliver the projects we need to achieve great outcomes for passengers, freight, and funders.

“In Bradford on Avon, we are working with our contractors to ensure that the remainder of the work is carried out as quickly and as safely as possible and will keep the local community updated as this project progresses.

“I’d like to thank residents for their ongoing patience and once again apologise for the delays to this project.”