Engineers are preparing potential designs now for Boxal Bridge’s replacement to avoid having to take hasty action in the future.
The bridge, which carries traffic on the Kirdford Road (C109) between Kirdford and Wisborough Green, has significant structural defects and a study revealed that replacement would be the best all-round solution, also improving road safety.
Bridge engineers are working on potential designs for the new bridge now, rather than waiting until urgent action is needed on the ageing structure and traffic weight restrictions have to be imposed for safety reasons.
Councillor Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “Unfortunately we can’t predict when it will reach the point when heavy vehicles, such as farm machinery and buses, would have to be prohibited. It could be a number of years away, or it could be sooner, so our Highways engineers are being proactive now rather than facing rushed decisions when the bridge has deteriorated even more.”
He said the council was committed to work with Kirdford and Wisborough Green parish councils to develop a potential design which would be as close a match as possible to the existing bridge, regulations permitting.
“With a replacement solution, engineers would also look to see if as much side-elevation stonework as possible could be salvaged and reused on the new structure.”
In the past, the council has faced calls for action to improve the bridge, which is single lane and creates a pinch-point for traffic, with the potential for head-on conflict.
The current proposal is to replace the bridge with one that can accommodate two lanes of traffic.
Cllr Lanzer added: “There have been some unfounded rumours about the bridge replacement scheme and I would like to assure the public that the recommendation for the full replacement, and its possible size, has been reached with highway engineering in mind and in complete isolation from any oil and gas exploration planning applications.”
The bridge is currently safe to use and will be regularly inspected to ensure it remains so until the replacement is built.