MOTORISTS are being warned that traffic restrictions are in place on an Oxfordshire bridge after concerns were discovered during a routine inspection.

Stonework to the eastern side of the northern arch of Abingdon Bridge in Abingdon – which carries the A415 across the River Thames – has become displaced, reducing the bridges strength in this area.

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Temporary traffic lights have therefore been put in place by Oxfordshire County Council to enable vehicles up to 44 tonnes to continue to use the bridge safely by avoiding the weakened area.

The introduction of the temporary traffic lights meant the pelican crossing to the north had to be turned off, together with the Market Place traffic lights at the junction of Bridge Street and High Street.

The repairs will require the use of a specialist subcontractor and advice from Historic England, due to this being a scheduled monument, and the Environment Agency, as access will be required from the River Thames which flows below.

The timescales for this repair work have not yet been fully established, but it is likely to be at least six months before work can start and possibly more than a year before a satisfactory repair is completed and the temporary traffic lights can be removed.

The complex nature of repairing this historic bridge, which was built in the 15th century, and uncertainty over the availability of subcontractors with the specialist skills, will be factors in the amount of time the work will take.

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