PARTS of the Oxford Ring Road could be closed later this month as work to prop up an old bridge is carried out.

Oxfordshire County Council has previously said that Kennington Bridge needs replacing because bearings which hold up the underside of the bridge have worn away, and repairing them is not cost effective.

Work to replace the bridge, at the southern end of the Ring Road, is set to take place in spring or summer next year and will cost £40m.

Ahead of that a contractor has been hired by the county council to add props to the underside of the road, helping to stabilise it.

This work will begin from July 20 and will mostly not affect people’s road journeys.

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But some ‘temporary road closures’ are planned as part of the works but most of it will take place underneath the bridge.

The A423 exit to the junction with Kennington Road will be closed full-time until October 30.

And temporary closures of the A423 southern bypass crossing Kennington Railway Bridge in both directions will take place overnight on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27 from 10pm to 8am and on Sunday, September 27 and Monday, September 28 from 10pm to 5am.

Diversionary routes will be in place.

The council council’s cabinet member for highway operation and delivery Liam Walker said disruption would be likely because of the works.

Because of this, the council is advising people to consider if they need to travel and if they do, to plan their journeys and use alternative modes of transport or other routes if possible.

Oxford Mail:

Liam Walker. Picture: OCC

Mr Walker said: “There will undoubtedly be disruption when the work is done, but it is good news as it signals the start of the bridge replacement and also work that will enable the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme to move forward.

He added: “What lockdown has shown us is that many people can reduce their reliance on car travel either by using more sustainable modes or working from home. I hope that people continue to do this as the benefits for everyone are significant – less traffic means less congestion, safer roads and reduced pollution.

“Having said that, we understand that the A423 will continue to be a key strategic route for many people and that is why we are doing what we can to reduce delays as far as we possibly can.”

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Kennington Bridge spans two watercourses and four railway lines.

It is also crossed by high voltage overhead powerlines and has a Thames Water main pipe incorporated into the structure.

According to the council, this makes carrying out works complicated.

About 53,000 vehicles – including 2,000 lorries and 350 coaches and buses – use the bridge every day.

The work will also impact on plans to dig a huge flood alleviation trench west of Oxford.