The bridge and viaduct, built in 1928, need to be replaced as they are in poor condition and the current structures are already subject to a 7.5 tonne weight restriction. If the structures are not replaced then even lower restrictions would be needed in the near future along with the possibility of full closure to all traffic soon after.
When completed, the new bridge will allow the current weight limit to be removed bringing the bridge up to current national standards and allowing it to be used by HGVs, coaches and buses. The replacement bridge will improve access to Evesham town centre from the south for local residents and businesses.
Mr Baker said: “This excellent scheme will restore the full capacity of this important route and provide a boost to the local economy by ensuring that access to the town centre for bus passengers and lorries is maintained.
Central government is stumping up £5.6m towards the full scheme cost of £8.2m. Hochtief’s contract is worth £7m. Completion is scheduled for November 2013.
Hochtief’s work involves demolishing the old bridge and building the replacement on new foundations of 66 piles, bored insitu to a depth of 12.5m. The carriageway will increase in width from 9.0m to 10.95m. The footways will increase in width from 1.6m to 2.0m.
Alongside the replacement bridge works, the junction of the B4035 Waterside and the A4181 Cheltenham Road will be upgraded with a new signal system and additional pedestrian facilities installed.
The new footpaths will be cantilevered to the outside of the reinforced concrete arch in order to provide a widened carriageway and improved views of the River Avon.