Rail bridge works in Preston will close road for six weeks

Urgent rebuilding work on a 175-year-old Preston railway bridge could force a road closure for up to six weeks.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 10:22 am

Network Rail wants to replace the brick parapets on both sides of the Grade II Listed structure which runs beneath St Paul's Road in Deepdale.

But the project will mean traffic, including regular bus services, will not be able to use the busy road while work is going on.

The bridge, over a branch line of the former Longridge Railway, will need to be demolished down to road level and rebuilt.

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Removal of the brick parapets on both sides of the bridge will mean closing the road for six weeks.

Because the brickwork, much of it original, is now degraded after almost two centuries of weathering and pollution, Network Rail says it can no longer be patched up. And unless the walls are replaced they could become unsafe.

"There is no other action available other than to replace these bricks," says the company.

"Following a detailed examination of the bridge it has become apparent that the majority of the brickwork to the parapets has now become degraded through age/weathering/pollution etc.

"This has caused the surface to blow. This in time will lead to quicker deterioration of the old brickwork with the loss of integrity to the parapet wall.

Many of the bricks in the parapets have been degraded by 175 years of Preston weather.

"The interventions proposed are all intended to secure the longer-term structural integrity of the structure, whilst also ensuring that the parapets remain safe for member of the public."

Specialists are to source new hand-made bricks to match as closely as possible the ones being replaced. They will also be using lime-based mortar because the bridge is a Listed structure.

The heritage asset was first constructed in 1846 which is in the "Heroic Age" of railway building and it is deemed to have "strong historic significance."

It was part of a line between Deepdale and the Maudland area of Preston to link the Longridge Railway with the Fleetwood, Preston and West Riding Railway.

Network Rail is planning to work seven days a week for six weeks in an attempt to get the project finished as quickly as possible.