Everything you need to know about the ten week road closure through Whaley Bridge as repairs to historic railway bridge commence

One of the main routes in and out of Whaley Bridge shut this week until the end of March, diverting bus routes and traffic as Network Rail embark on a £5m repair project of a historic railway bridge.
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Network Rail owns and manages the BEJ42 bridge which carries the Buxton to Edgeley Junction railway line over the A5004 Buxton Road.

Now the company is spending £5.1m to repair a crack in the outer cast iron span of the bridge which was first spotted in 2002.

This is going to have major implications for residents and commuters as the road will be shut for ten weeks and buses will be diverted as well as trains stopping for almost two weeks.

The Buxton Road railway bridge in Whaley Bridge need a £5.1m repair to a crack and will shut the road for ten weeks. Pic Jason Chadwick.The Buxton Road railway bridge in Whaley Bridge need a £5.1m repair to a crack and will shut the road for ten weeks. Pic Jason Chadwick.
The Buxton Road railway bridge in Whaley Bridge need a £5.1m repair to a crack and will shut the road for ten weeks. Pic Jason Chadwick.

From Monday January, 9 until Sunday January 15 there will be a single traffic line under the BEJ42 bridge which will be managed by traffic lights.

From Monday January, 16 until Friday March, 31 the road will be fully closed to traffic.

Between Saturday February, 4 and Sunday March, 5 there will be no pedestrian access under the bridge.

Between Friday February, 17 and Tuesday February, 28 there will be no railway services between Hazel Grove and Buxton, and passengers are advised to check National Rail before travelling.

Network Rail are starting the ten week repairs on the The Buxton Road railway bridge in Whaley Bridge on January 9. Pic Jason ChadwickNetwork Rail are starting the ten week repairs on the The Buxton Road railway bridge in Whaley Bridge on January 9. Pic Jason Chadwick
Network Rail are starting the ten week repairs on the The Buxton Road railway bridge in Whaley Bridge on January 9. Pic Jason Chadwick

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “The bridge, which was built in 1863, needs to be replaced to keep rail passengers and the Whaley Bridge community safe for years to come.

"Despite regular maintenance over the years, the bridge now needs to be significantly strengthened and undergo a major upgrade.

“Without the work taking place there’s a real risk a bridge bash by a high vehicle could stop trains above for many months, completely cutting off Whaley Bridge, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Dove Holes and Buxton from the railway network.”

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Buxton Road railway bridge, Whaley BridgeBuxton Road railway bridge, Whaley Bridge
Buxton Road railway bridge, Whaley Bridge

A planning application for Listed Building Consent was submitted to High Peak Borough Council.

At the end of last month permission was granted for a ‘proposed partial reconstruction of railway bridge comprising replacement of load-bearing cast iron spans with Corten steel, and retention of non-load bearing span, with ancillary repairs and alterations’.

Network Rail who cancelled two meetings at short notice, met with residents on Thursday with several drop in sessions throughout the day.

High Peak MP Robert Largan said: “The communication from Network Rail has been very poor.

"And I’m glad residents were finally able to meet and ask questions about the works.

"For the people of Whaley Bridge this will be hugely disruptive and will cut the village in half.

"For months Long Hill was shut which impacted businesses and trade and now this.

"I’m just thankful the temporary traffic lights on the A6 near the new roundabout have been removed or it would have been traffic chaos for commuters.”

With the road shut for such a long time this will mean buses will have to take an alternative route.

A statement on High Peak Buses’ website states: “To facilitate replacement of Railway Structure, Buxton Road, Whaley Bridge at Railway Bridge between junction with Forge Road and Whaley Bridge Uniting Church will be closed.”

This will affect a number of services.

The number 60 will operate to a revised timetable and in two halves. Macclesfield to Chapel-en-le-Frith will run every two hours and afternoon runs extends to Dove Holes for Chapel High School pupils, with most journeys operating via Shallcross.

Hayfield to Whaley Bridge - will operate hourly as per the current timetable, but all journeys will do a full loop around Stoneheads to turn around.

The 61 service will also see changes and will operate as a through service, but the frequency will be reduced to every 90-minutes due to the length of diversion via Chapel.

Whaley Bridge will still be served in both directions, but buses will divert via a half loop of Stoneheads via Joddrell Road and Hockerly Lane only.

For those who travel on the 190 bus it will operate a normal timetable, but journeys will terminate at Stonehead. as per the 61 service, but will not serve Shallcross. Shallcross Residents can use the revised 60 service.

The 199 timetable will remain unchanged, but buses will not serve Cockyard, Tunstead Milton, Horwich End, or the main part of Chapel or Whaley Bridge.

Buses from Buxton will operate as normal to Market Street, but instead of continuing on Market Street to Cockyard, it will turn right into Hayfield Road at Town End by the flower shop then rejoin A6 at Aldi roundabout to rejoin normal line of route at Bridgemont. Buses from Manchester will operate the reverse.

Chapel-en-le-Frith residents will be able to get on at the Old Pack Horse on Market Street but the Town Hall, Kings Arms, New Inn and Ecclesfold stops will not be served for the duration of the closure and passengers will need to walk down to the Town End stop on Hayfield Road for travel towards Manchester, or Town End stop on Hayfield Road East opposite the back of the Old Pack Horse.

In the mornings there will be one trip departing Buxton Market Place at 7.40am and will arrive at Chapel High School for 8.08am, where the bus will turn around in the grounds and return to A6 using Sheffield Road slip.

Helena Williams, project manager at Network Rail, added: “We understand closing Buxton Road will cause residents disruption, which is why we have worked hard to make sure the full road closure is as short as possible.

“Because of the bridge’s special heritage status, we have to preserve as many of its original features as possible, which means the work will take much longer than a standard bridge replacement.”

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