Railway engineers are reaching the final phase of a major project to improve passenger journeys and safety for road users through Whaley Bridge in the High Peak.
Network Rail has invested £5.1 million to overhaul the Victorian-built Buxton Road railway bridge, which takes the Buxton line over the main road through the town.
The essential upgrade has seen the structure carrying the railway completely rebuilt and a third of the original Grade II listed bridge span retained.
For the work to be safely carried out, Buxton Road has been entirely closed to traffic since January.
Ahead of it reopening this Friday (31 March), Network Rail thanked motorists, local people and businesses for their patience.
Helena Williams, Network Rail scheme project manager, said: “March has been truly transformative for Buxton Road bridge – it started with trains running safely for passengers over the new structure and ends with us being able to reveal the restoration work and painting complete on the retained 160-year-old steelwork.
“It means we can reopen Buxton Road to traffic again from this Friday, with traffic lights in place while the team safely makes finishing touches to the remaining masonry and steelwork throughout April. I’d like to thank local people once again for their patience and understanding and hope they are as impressed with the restored bridge as we are.”
The three-month project also saw a full railway closure for a new concrete bridge deck to be lifted into place.
Now several weeks of grit blasting and repainting of the remaining original 160-year-old structure is complete, during Friday daytime the road below will partially reopen.
Traffic lights will allow road users to pass safely under the bridge while finishing touches to masonry and the historic steelwork are completed throughout April.
Once reopened, all vehicles including HGVs and buses, can travel underneath the structure with public transport arrangements returning to normal.
By the end of the month both lanes of Buxton Road are expected to fully reopen.
Network Rail has worked closely with High Peak Borough Council and Historic England to make sure the work is carried out in consideration of the 1863 built bridge’s heritage status.
You can find out more about some of the conservation work carried out across the railway network at: www.networkrail.co.uk/working-with-railway-heritage.
Photo credit: Network Rail