A £500,000 roadworks scheme to improve a bridge in Staffordshire is under way, and is already causing tailbacks for drivers.
The project is being carried out by Network Rail after the Old Hednesford Road bridge in Cannock was ‘repeatedly’ hit by oversized vehicles.
The bridge is closed to drivers for the duration of the two-month scheme and motorists have been caught up in delays in the area.
The work intends to strengthen the bridge to safeguard rail services along the Cannock line.
The line, which runs between Rugeley and Birmingham, is also due to be electrified in 2017, with plans to increase the speed of trains on the Chase Line from 45-50mph to 70mph.
Network Rail said that the bridge had a history of being struck by oversize vehicles, despite warning signs, and the work would reduce the risk of a bridge strike in the future and also increase the strength of the bridge.
The firm is planning to alter the design of the bridge by removing the supports, which it says were driven into on a number of occasions. Network Rail said it was working with the council to minimise disruption to motorists.
The work is expected to make sure the bridge is suitable and safe for up to another 50 years.
The Old Hednesford Road bridge was badly damaged in October 2010 after a lorry collided with it.
Although the HGV driver was unhurt in the accident, a large chunk was ripped from the vehicle’s trailer and weakened the bridge and the road had to be closed off for 10 hours.