Network Rail to start main stage of work on Manton railway bridge next week
The main stage of work on a major project to fully reconstruct Manton railway bridge, which is over 150 years old, is fast approaching.
Network Rail started work on the project to replace the bridge in April and the newer, stronger one is being installed next weekend.
It will mean passenger and freight services can continue running safely and reliably on the line between Melton Mowbray and Stamford/Kettering for years to come.
Teams have set up compounds, carried out preparation work and installed a temporary scaffold bridge for any wires to run across so they can be installed on the new structure. Ramps for engineers to access the track have also been put in place to make it easier for them to remove the old bridge.
Between the last train service next Thursday (June 3) and the first service on June 7, the bridge will be removed. The new one – which weighs around 425 tonnes - will be installed from underneath.
Once the new bridge is in place, the next stage of the project will involve moving the cables, removing the temporary ramps and taking the scaffold bridge down. The road will reopen on Monday, July 5 and the project will be fully completed later in the month.
The section of the A6003 at the bridge will remain closed until Monday, July 5 to allow the work to take place safely. A signposted diversion is in place for drivers and the footpath will remain open for pedestrians and cyclists.
Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands route, said: “We know this section of the A6003 is a vital connection for drivers in Rutland and the surrounding areas and we want to thank them for their patience while this vital upgrade is carried out.
“Although the first stages of the work haven’t been visible for the local community, a lot of preparation is involved before lifting the bridge and installing the new one – and the project can only be carried out safely when the road is closed.
“Reconstructing Manton bridge will mean people can safely and reliably connect to other towns and cities via rail or road for generations to come.”
The road has been closed since April 12 with a signposted diversion taking drivers along the A606 from Oakham to Stamford and the A1 before joining the A43 and the A47 back to Uppingham.
Coun Lucy Stephenson, cabinet member for Highways at Rutland County Council, thanked 'residents for their patience while Network Rail carries out this extensive bridge repair project'.
She said: "We know it’s a massive inconvenience for drivers who are trying to get around the county, and I thank everyone who is following the official diversion route. This is important because it sends traffic along the safest and most appropriate route while the bridge replacement works are ongoing.
“The council is supporting Leicestershire Police to deter drivers from taking to the back roads in an attempt to avoid the diversion. Speeding and irresponsible driving on these rural roads is dangerous and completely unacceptable.
"This diversion is also designed specifically to stop heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) contravening weight limits by using country lanes.
"At this crucial stage of the bridge reconstruction, please continue to be patient, drive to the conditions, use the diversion and show consideration for local communities and other road users while Network Rail completes these important works.”
During the main stage of the project next week, a section of the line will also be closed and there will be changes to train services.
Buses will replace CrossCountry trains between Melton Mowbray and Peterborough on June 4, 5 and 6.
Passengers who need to travel are strongly advised to check their journey via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator and allow plenty of time.