After a year of building works Chislehurst Road bridge is set to reopen this Friday. Reporters ROBERT FISK and HELOISE WOOD hear reactions from traders and residents.
CHISLEHURST Road Bridge was closed last November after it was found to be unsafe and in need of replacing.
Bromley Council said this would take a year to finish and, around 53 weeks after the old bridge was shut, the mayor Councillor Michael Turner will cut the ribbon on the new one at 10am this Friday (November 16).
Traffic will then be allowed over the bridge from noon.
Pensioner Margaret O' Connor (pictured above), 74, of Amhurst Drive, St Mary Cray, said: “Thank goodness for that.
“It will be very good to see it back open because it has been a nightmare.
“I do not think Leesons Hill was ever built to cope with the diverted traffic.
“I’m really glad to see it’s opening again, it’s good news.”
Dog walker Ann-Marie Buffoni (pictured above), 47, of Sheen Road, Petts Wood, has had to use the diversion route for a year while the bridge has been closed.
She said: “It will make an enormous difference, Friday can’t come soon enough.
“It will return my journey to Chislehurst a five minute one rather than the 20 minute or so one it is at the moment.”
REACTIONS FROM TRADERS
Manager Jane Nurthen, who has worked at the British Red Cross shop, in Cotmandene Crescent, St Paul’s Cray, for 17 years, said: “Our trade suffered hugely during the bridge closure, we thought we might have to close down.
“We lost half our customers and the number of donations went down to a third of what it was.
“So now we are really excited about welcoming our customers back and we’ve saved our best evening wear for the Christmas season.”
She added: “I know most of the customers by name so there’s a real feeling of community in the shop.”
Wendy Grimwood, who is the deputy manager at a shop in Royal Parade, Chislehurst, says the bridge closure has been a nightmare for the Royal Parade shops.
She said: “We have all suffered, the takings have been down incredibly in the last year.
“The reopening could not come sooner really.”
TIMELINE OF WORKS
- March 2009 - Width restrictions introduced on Chislehurst Road bridge to prevent buses and heavy goods vehicles driving over
- November 7, 2011 – Chislehurst Road bridge closes to traffic and diversions put in place
- December 20, 2011 – Bat boxes put up to house bats found at the old bridge
- January 20, 2012 – 300 tonne crane arriving to lift in steel beams
- June 2012 - Parapets are lifted in on both sides of the bridge
- September 25, 2012 – News Shopper reveals bridge reopening date
- October, 2012 – Resurfacing works are carried out in preparation for the reopening
- Friday – Bromley’s mayor Councillor Michael Turner will reopen the bridge