Vehicles had regularly hit the bridge’s side railings but now two carriageway lanes have been built, replacing a ‘pinchpoint’ which funnelled traffic, and forward visibility has been increased, the county council said.
The 40mph speed restriction in Wineham Lane has been extended over the bridge and a hardened verge introduced to improve safety for pedestrians who previously had to walk in the road between the side railings.
‘Green engineering’ used in the project included wildlife ‘shelves’ under the bridge so animals can cross the causeway safely under the road; a verge made of ‘grasscrete’ – a concrete grid that allows grass to grow through it, so it will ‘green up’ over time; ‘green engineered’ approach embankments, replacing the old concrete side walls and harsh metal railings with natural reinforced earth embankments; safety fences cladded in timber, and the old metal railings replaced with sustainable timber fencing.
Bob Lanzer, county council cabinet member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “This project has combined safety improvements with ‘green engineering’ to ensure the new bridge is in-keeping with the rural setting.
“For example, the reinforced earth approach embankments should meld into the surroundings over time, replacing the ‘harsher’ concrete walls and metal railings.”
A spokesman added: “Replacing the bridge was essential because the side walls were leaning badly and a number of the small culvert pipes had fractured, meaning the structure was becoming unsafe.
“The pipes were replaced with a new larger box bridge designed to last a minimum of 120 years. The total cost of the project was about £580,000.”