Express & Star

Width restriction to be introduced at 19th century bridge in Staffordshire

A width restriction is set to be introduced on a Grade II listed bridge in Staffordshire in an effort to prevent its permanent closure.

A width restriction will be introduced at Chetwynd Bridge

Chetwynd Bridge, near Alrewas, which is 200-years-old, has previously undergone a full restoration after its ironwork structure began to deteriorate.

Now, Staffordshire County Council has announced further plans to help preserve the historic bridge, with a width restriction of 7ft 6ins to be put in place to prevent heavier vehicles from accessing it.

As part of the plans, three variable message signs will be used to alert drivers to the new restriction, with two either side of the bridge and one for vehicles coming out of nearby Barley Green Lane.

A weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes was previously introduced at the bridge to prevent further damage to its iron bearings, which Staffordshire County Council's cabinet member for highways and transport, Councillor David Williams, said was ignored by many motorists.

"Chetwynd Bridge is listed and a historic asset to people in Staffordshire and neighbouring Derbyshire," said Councillor Williams.

"It has undergone a full and sympathetic restoration to ensure it is safe to use and in keeping with its historic status.

"Unfortunately, we had to introduce a weight limit to prevent further deterioration of the bridge. We now need to bring in the width restriction, as far too many heavy vehicles are ignoring the restriction signs.

"Without further action we would need to close the bridge to all traffic, which nobody wants. We do of course understand this will place an inconvenience on local residents and businesses, but we cannot compromise safety.

"We have let businesses, partner organisations and communities know about the new restriction. In the longer term, the county council is planning to remove all traffic from Chetwynd Bridge and put it onto the new bypass road bridge.

"This will transform Chetwynd Bridge into a cycle and pedestrian route and preserve it for future generations."

Signs indicating the new width restriction will be installed at the site from next week, with restriction barriers to be put in place on the week beginning July 31.