21/12/2012 - Permalink

Bind Lane Ford to close for urgent bridge repairs

Related topics: Community

Major work to repair Donkey Bridge, which carries the Jack Mytton Way over the Borle Brook approximately 300 metres downriver of Bind Lane Ford near Highley, is scheduled to start on Monday 7 January 2013 and is expected to last until late March 2013. 

The bridge, which is a two span stone arch bridge, was closed on an emergency basis in early October 2012 after its centre pier was found to have been severely damaged by flood water.  This has left the bridge’s northern arch inadequately supported at the pier. 

Because the stability of the northern arch is now uncertain, the proposed repair work will include building a temporary structural steel frame over the top of the bridge to support the weight of the damaged arch until the pier has been repaired.  This is considered necessary to ensure the safety of the workers. 

As Bind Lane is narrow and unsuitable for HGVs, the proposed work will include building a temporary site compound and delivery area in a roadside field situated between Bind Lane Ford and Highley. Construction materials will then be transported from this compound to the bridge using smaller vehicles which, at times, will be slow moving. 

Unfortunately, because Bind Lane has very few vehicle passing places, the length of the lane extending from Bind Lane Ford to the site compound area will be closed to traffic for the duration of the work.  This is considered necessary to avoid conflict between traffic and construction vehicles. 

When the road closure is in place, through traffic will be diverted along the B4555 and B4363 roads.  Also, all properties situated along Bind Lane will be accessible from either Highley or Billingsley. 

The public footpaths and bridleway in the immediate vicinity of the Donkey Bridge will also be closed until the repair work is complete. 

It is estimated that the repair work will cost approximately £125,000. 

Mary Nicholls, local Shropshire Councillor for Highley, said:

“I’m so pleased to see the stabilising works getting underway on the Donkey Bridge (colloquially known as the Packhorse Bridge).  The bridge, which dates back to 1709, is an integral part of the New England historical site of Highley, as well as providing an essential pedestrian link with the Cleobury Mortimer and the Brown Clee divisions, and Rays Farm. 

“Highley’s community was devastated by the recent flood damage, and the loss of this valuable asset to our outdoor pursuits enthusiasts was really disappointing, as well as to local historians and those further afield.  

“Highley Initiative worked hard to reclaim the New England site as a picnic and historical site and involved local schoolpupils in the design of engravings which adorn the bridge.  There will be a sigh of relief from villagers that this heritage asset is being protected from the further ravages of flooding this winter, and hopefully it is being safeguarded for generations to come.”