An important commuter route between the Caistor area and the M180 will finally return to normality following two years of roadworks.
The railway bridge on the A18 at Melton Ross has been restricted by temporary traffic lights, a speed limit reduction and a weight limit for HGV’s but essential work has finally begun this week.
North Lincolnshire Council started propping up the bridge on Monday (January 4), and the work is due to be completed by mid-March 2016 - meaning the bridge will be fully open and an end to lengthy delays.
The bridge is a popular route between the Caistor area and the north of the county - and a vital connection to the M180. The work is expected to cost around £500,000.
The restrictions were implemented following a routine inspection of the bridge around two years ago.
It was found that there were some structural problems, meaning that the bridge wasn’t strong enough to hold the same level of traffic that it had been able to previously.
Work will be carried out under the bridge during the daytime and won’t affect any trains, although a one-day road closure will be required towards the end of the works in March.
The propping up of the bridge is only a temporary solution to the problem until a full replacement bridge is constructed and installed.
Councillor Neil Poole, cabinet member for Neighbourhoods at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “We apologise for the length of time traffic restrictions have been in place at the A18 Melton Ross Bridge.
“It was definitely not anticipated that it would take this long, but unfortunately it was taken out of our hands.
“Once the propping up work has been carried out, we can reopen the bridge fully to all traffic.
“We will then look at designing and constructing a new bridge that will be a long-term solution to the problem, once funding has been secured.
“We won’t need to put traffic restrictions in place for this work, as the bridge will be installed next to the existing one.”
The Council had to work alongside Network Rail to coordinate the works, as the bridge runs over one of their rail lines.
This caused a delay because of permission being given for January next year, rather than the first plan of October 2015.
The reopening of the bridge will be welcomed by Caistor Town Council which discussed the issue at a recent meeting, specifically the diversion of heavy goods vehicles through Bigby, Grasby and Caistor and the impact on the road condition.
The work to the Melton Ross bridge coincides with improvement works being made to local rail services by Network Rail.
The Market Rasen to Grimsby/Cleethorpe train line has been temporarily closed since late December, and is due to reopen on January 11.