Bridge repairs given the green light at last

Grosvenor Bridge will reopen today

Repairs to Grosvenor Bridge in Tunbridge Wells will finally go ahead at the start of the New Year, avoiding disruption to shoppers in the build-up to Christmas.

The reconstruction of the concrete piers supporting the bridge, which spans the London to Hastings railways line, is set to begin on January 3.

The road is expected to be closed to all vehicles until the autumn, though pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the works.

Traffic will be diverted from Grosvenor Bridge on to Upper Grosvenor Road, Grosvenor Road, Victoria Road, Camden Road and finally on to Quarry Road.

The repairs were due to have begun on June 16 but were put on hold because Network Rail had to divert a high-voltage cable to allow the work to commence.

They were unable to do the preparatory measure sooner because work on the wider power network at Hastings meant the cable to be in use 24 hours a day.

KCC Cabinet member for Environment and Transport, Matthew Balfour, said: “These works are vital to ensuring the structural integrity of the bridge and the safety of the road.

“Grosvenor Bridge is supported by two abutments and four piers – two concrete piers and two brick piers – and over the years the condition of the concrete piers has deteriorated and they have now reached the end of their serviceable life.

“To ensure that the bridge remains safe and able to accommodate the amount of traffic that uses it, the two concrete piers need to be replaced.

“I appreciate this will cause disruption and for that we have apologised. It has always been our intention to avoid the busy Christmas period and that is why the works will begin in January.”

Nicky Blanchard, Centre Manager of Royal Victoria Place and Chair of Royal Tunbridge Wells Together, said the group had worked closely with KCC and all other parties to resolve the issue.

She said: “It is paramount that any works do not impact on the busy Christmas trading period for town centre businesses and therefore this should be a key consideration when planning the final schedule for these works.”

Some of the work will have to be carried out at night in order to avoid disruption to the busy railway service. Kent County Council has been working with Network Rail in order to ensure the line is not affected.

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