Norfolk Broads swing bridges to be replaced by Network Rail?

NETWORK Rail is considering a bid for Government funding to replace four elderly swing bridges on the Norfolk Broads.

The bridges at Oulton Broad, Reedham, Somerleyton and Trowse are considered increasingly unreliable, especially in hot weather, and NR does not now open them to water traffic if it suspects they may not close correctly afterwards.

The installation of water sprays to cool the steelwork of the bridges and reduce expansion caused by overheating have been discussed but are yet to materialise.

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The much-photographed swing bridge at Reedham, on the Norwich to Lowestoft line, could be replaced if funding can be found for a new, more reliable bridge. CHRIS MILNER

NR’s reluctance to open the bridges on hot days is causing major disruption to larger and taller craft on the Broads during the busy summer months.

Stakeholders, including the Royal Yachting Association, have asked NR to consider long-term solutions for both rail and river traffic.

It is thought the bridges would cost around £30million each to replace and Government assistance would be essential to meet the cost.

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Sam Hewitt