A railway bridge in Horspath, Oxfordshire, is to be restored to allow it to be used by local residents in the future, all whilst preserving a piece of British Heritage.
Built in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, the railway was used by the Princes Risborough to Oxford railway line until the 1960s when the line was closed due to reducing passenger numbers.
However, recent surveys have found issues with the structure of the bridge, including deterioration to the bridge parapets.
The bridge has continued to lean and fracture recently, so the parapets were removed, and the bridge closed in February due to safety concerns.
However, work has been completed, and Highways England Historic Railways Estate and Oxfordshire County Council are planning a complete renovation of the bridge as well as a restoration of the parapets using the original bricks.
The restoration has attracted interest from Horspath residents who volunteered to clean and repair the 3,000 bricks, which were removed under the supervision of Spencer Timmo.
Restoration work will include vegetation removal and root access that has caused the damage, as well work on the bridge, including joint repairs, with work expected to start later this year.
Matthew Irwin, Highways England Historical Railways Estate Civil Engineer, said: We are delighted that this work has been confirmed and we will soon set about restoring the bridge for the residents of Horspath to enjoy in the future. We have been and will continue to work closely with the local community are looking forward to starting the work as soon as we can.
Chairman of Horspath Parish Council Peter Dobson added: “Horspath Bridge has been a very important asset to the village for many years and the residents of Horspath value its presence as a wild life corridor, aid to traffic calming and part of Horspath’s history as identified in the 2003 bridge enquiry which was found in Horspath’s favour.
We all now look forward to the bridge being refurbished and remaining part of the village for many years to come.”
Paul Fermer, Oxfordshire County Council’s Assistant Director of Community Operations, said: “Oxfordshire County Council is looking forward to working with Highways England on this project and will keep residents informed of any road closures and diversions which need to be put in place during the bridge renovation.”
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