Major plans for historic Essex bridge
FEARS are rife that a historic bridge in need of repair could be replaced with what has been described as a concrete monstrosity . Essex County Council (ECC) has approved plans to rebuild Thaxted s Folly Mill Bridge to enable it to carry lorries of up to
FEARS are rife that a historic bridge in need of repair could be replaced with what has been described as a "concrete monstrosity".
Essex County Council (ECC) has approved plans to rebuild Thaxted's Folly Mill Bridge to enable it to carry lorries of up to 40 tonnes in weight.
Chairman of Thaxted Parish Council John Freeman said: "I understand that the bridge needs to be repaired so that it can be used by larger vehicles. At the moment refuse lorries have to stop and turn around instead of crossing it, which can be damaging to the verges.
"A bridge with a limit of 20 tonnes would be sufficient. We are concerned that building a bridge with a 40-tonne limit will encourage large lorries to start using the narrow lane."
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The 1940s-built Folly Mill Bridge is on a country lane off the B184 Dunmow to Thaxted road and currently has a three-tonne limit because of a structural fault.
The bridge is 8ft wide, but the reconstruction will see it widened to 13ft.
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To make space for the larger bridge, a garden wall at Folly Mill, a Grade II Listed 17th century building, will be partially demolished.
A spokesman for ECC said: "This bridge is being strengthened for safety reasons as it is currently in a deteriorating condition. We appreciate this is rural road and we are not intending to encourage any more heavy vehicles than strictly necessary, such as fire engines and farm vehicles, to use it.
"To this effect we are considering possible environmental restrictions, such as a width restriction, for Folly Mill Bridge and we will be consulting with the local community fully on this. Any such restriction would have to take into account the potential need for use by fire engines, refuse lorries, delivery lorries, farm vehicles and other vehicles which could be considered to have a need to use the bridge."
The bridge originally had a weight limit of 17 tonnes, but this was reduced about three years ago when the damage became apparent.
The new structure with a 40-tonne limit will bring it inline with national guidelines.