Hampshire County Council will be considering the viability of options for replacing the Holmsley Rail Bridge on the A35 Lyndhurst to Christchurch. Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, will be considering a report at his next Decision Day meeting on 21 March.
Councillor Woodward explained: “We’ve been monitoring this bridge since it became the County Council’s responsibility in 2012 to ensure that it was safe. However we have known that the bridge was in a deteriorating condition, and that in the long-term, it would need to be replaced if it was to remain open to all traffic. We’ve essentially been saving up for this work since then, and the time has come to begin to consider potential options around replacing the bridge in order to maintain this key route through the New Forest. This is certainly going to be a challenge and we need to look very carefully at all the options, bearing in mind the potential costs and inevitable inconvenience involved in what will be a complex engineering project, whatever the option we select.
“If we decide to go ahead, we will be talking to both the district and parish councils, the Verderers, Forestry Commission and National Park Authority as well as the local business and nearby residents as we develop our plans and timeframes. We would need to get utilities diverted, consider ecological and environmental considerations and look carefully at traffic management and potential diversions. We are under no illusion that this will be easy or quick, but the unusual construction and deteriorating condition of the bridge means that the time has come to make a decision on it’s future.”
Holmsley Rail Bridge runs over the C10 Burley to Sway/Brockenhurst road and is one of a number redundant railway structures in Hampshire previously owned by British Rail Board (Residuary) Ltd. It was originally opened in 1847, and replaced in 1908. After the railway was closed in 1964, it was replaced with the C10 Station Road in the 1970s. It was transferred to Hampshire County Council in 2012.