Oxfordshire County Council starts planning to replace Kennington bridge

Oxfordshire County Council has announced that the A423 Kennington Bridge is to be replaced at an estimated cost of around £40m.

Inspections for planned maintenance work to replace the bearings to extend the life of the bridge revealed that deterioration was quicker than expected and repairs are no longer a viable option.

The bridge was built in 1965, and some unusual design features have emerged which mean it is not cost-effective to continue to maintain the structure. The bearings that support the deck have worn and there is no way of replacing them.

Engineers have confirmed that the bridge is safe, work is being carried out to ensure it remains safe and will continue to be monitored.

The bridge and road will remain open for at least two years before construction work starts while design takes place. The county council will be working with project partners and stakeholders including local residents and road users to minimise disruption.

Kennington A423 Southern Bypass Railway bridge is part of the regional road network. Around 53,000 vehicles including 2000 HGVs and 350 coaches/buses use the bridge every day. Around 360 trains travel underneath the bridge daily. The bridge also carries a water main with power lines overhead.

County Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Environment, said: “The bridge on the A423 is an essential part of Oxfordshire’s transport infrastructure and is safe for continued use. Work is being carried out to ensure that it will remain safe while the replacement is designed.

“Replacing the bridge would always have been necessary at some point but previous inspections had suggested that would not be any time soon. We have concluded that bringing forward the replacement is the best way to secure the long-term viability of the strategic road network and delivery of a robust flood alleviation scheme.

“We fully recognise the impact that the construction will have on the Oxfordshire transport network and local residents. We will work with all affected stakeholders so they can plan ahead and help us minimise the impact.

“We do now have the opportunity to look at joint design for the bridge in relation to its role in transport network and the flood scheme.

The bridge is located on the route of the proposed Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme and culverts need to be installed under the A423 close to the bridge to allow water to pass through efficiently during normal times and in times of flood to give additional capacity to the area.

Joanne Emberson Wines, Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme Project Director, said “The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme partnership is committed to helping better protect people, properties, roads and railways around Oxford from flooding.

“We are working closely with Oxfordshire County Council, who are one of our partners on the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme, to determine the best way to coordinate the work needed to the bridge with the construction of the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.”