THE date for when work will start at an historic Victorian bridge saved by protestors has been revealed.

In February, Horspath residents took to the Cuddesdon Road railway bridge to protest against its demolition, arguing the bridge is a corridor for wildlife to pass along.

The protestors were then cleared by police for breaking social distancing restrictions at the time.

In May, it was announced the bridge would be restored.

Now, the National Highways renovation project is set to start on Monday, October 11 and is expected to take 10 weeks to complete, finishing on Friday, December 17.

Speaking on the upcoming work, Highways England historical railways estate civil engineer, Fiona Smith, said: “We are delighted that this work has now been confirmed and we can set about restoring the bridge for the residents of Horspath to enjoy in the future.

“We have been working closely with the local community on planning this work and are looking forward to returning this bridge to its former glory.

“It has always been our wish to fully renovate this bridge and we have been working closely with Horspath Parish Council, Oxfordshire County Council and the local community to ensure this positive outcome.”

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During the work to renovate the bridge, Cuddesdon Road will be closed and traffic will be diverted from the road onto Wheatley Road, Oxford Road and the Eastern Bypass.

The bridge was built during the reign of Queen Victoria as part of the Princes Risborough to Oxford line, however it was decommissioned in the 1960s due to a decline in passengers.

Damage grew worse over time and the bridge continued to lean and fracture.

Earlier this year, local residents volunteered to clean up and repair over 3,000 old bricks which were removed from the bridge.

The result of their efforts meant that up to half the bricks needed for the restoration work will be the original ones.

Work on the bridge includes:

• Replacement of all missing and fractured brickwork on the arches with all open joints repointed. The full arch will also be cross-stitched and grouted.

• Repair of all masonry fractures to the north east, north west and south east abutments.

• The parapets which were removed earlier this year due to safety concerns will be fully rebuilt using the reclaimed bricks, with new sympathetically matched bricks making up the shortfall.

• Fractures to the north and south spandrels will be repaired and regrouted.

• All four wing walls will be fully renovated, repairing all fractures, relaying displaced copings and repointing all brickwork.