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Storms could see A35 Holmsley bridge reopening date pushed back

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DELAYS to Holmsley bridge replacement work could hold up the busy New Forest route's reopening in time for Easter.

Disruption caused by recent storms prompted Hampshire County Council to sound the note of caution over the £5.5m project which has closed off the stretch of the A35 and the C10 Station Road since the start of the year.

As reported in the A&T, in December a problem installing foundations for the replacement bridge was blamed for the main road having to shut for the first three months of the year.

Contractor Knights Brown had been due to finish in time for the closure to be lifted on Friday 8th April – a week before the holiday weekend.

The bridge was due to reopen on 8th April (photo: Knights Brown)
The bridge was due to reopen on 8th April (photo: Knights Brown)

But in an update, HCC explained recent adverse weather, which included storms Eunice and Franklin, caused several days of “critical work” to be lost.

It said: “Knights Brown are working extremely hard to recover the lost time by working weekends and extended hours (whenever possible) and although they remain cautiously optimistic, they have nevertheless issued a warning regarding the removal of the temporary road closures in time for the Easter period.

“Whilst this is disappointing, it is understandable given the significant impact the storm had on the site and the surrounding area.

“It should be noted that the contractor will do everything they can to get things back on track as they are acutely aware of the impact these works are having on the surrounding communities.”

HCC added the road should be fully reopened as planned in June.

But at Monday’s New Milton Town Council meeting, local county councillor Fran Carpenter claimed the route would be open to traffic by Easter while landscaping continues until June.

The work has included installing the new bridge deck and raising the new road alignment to ensure it meets the levels of the new bridge. Road surfacing is also being carried out.

Diversions in place include a route taking motorists along Pound Lane, between Burley and Bransgore, where a burst water main caused a large hole to appear in the road over Whitten Bridge, damaging several vehicles in February.

There was a short closure for essential repairs by Bournemouth Water engineers at the time, but the route was again closed last Thursday for more water works. These were completed by the following morning.

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