Network Rail to hold Whaley Bridge event on bridge repair and transport impact

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Residents in Whaley Bridge are being invited to an information event next week to hear about plans for essential repair work on a historic rail bridge connecting to Buxton.

Network Rail is investing £5.1million to replace the grade II listed bridge, built in 1863, which takes the railway over Buxton Road, meaning both the road and rail line will be closed for long periods at the start of 2023.

Without the work taking place there is a real risk that an accidental knock from a high vehicle on the road 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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To explain engineers’ plans, the project team is hosting a community information drop-in event on Wednesday, November 23, 4-7pm at Whaley Bridge Uniting Church.

The 19th century bridge over Buxton Road is to undergo major repair works in the New Year.The 19th century bridge over Buxton Road is to undergo major repair works in the New Year.
The 19th century bridge over Buxton Road is to undergo major repair works in the New Year.

Project manager Helena Williams said: “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.

“I hope to see the local community at our information event so we can share more information about our plans and address any concerns.”

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

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Network Rail has worked carefully with High Peak Borough Council and Historic England to devise a solution in keeping with the bridge's heritage status.

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The team will preserve around one third of the original structure and replace the rest of the bridge in-keeping with its original design, but this process will take significantly longer than a more straightforward bridge replacement.

The current proposals would see Buxton Road reduced to single-line traffic January 9-15, closed to all vehicles January 16 to March 31, and pedestrians February 4 to March 5.

Helena said: “We understand that 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.”

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From Friday to Tuesday, February 17-28, it is expected that there will be no railway services between Hazel Grove and Buxton. Passengers are advised to check before travelling.

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