Wait continues for removal of bollards on Victoria Road bridge

Width restrictions on a Romford bridge are still obstructing a much-needed bus route – months after they were deemed unnecessary.

Bollards were placed on the Heath Park Road/Victoria Road bridge in August after concerns about the bridge’s capacity to bear weight. But a review by Network Rail in December concluded that the bridge could bear up to 40 tonnes – making the bollards redundant.

Local pensioner Michael Arnold, who uses the bus to visit his daughter, said: “A lot of old people rely on the bus being outside their house but are now having to walk all the way down Brentwood Road. I would say it’s a good mile. I have arthritis and it’s quite a hike for me.”

A Network Rail spokesperson confirmed in early January that the width restriction was due to be lifted “as soon as possible”.

But Transport for London’s bus boss Ken Davidson said TfL still had not been told the bridge was sound. “Bus routes 370, 496, 649 and 650 have been diverted away from Heath Park Road because of bridge works and weight restrictions since August last year,” he said. “This diversion was put in place for two years and will continue until Transport for London is advised that the bridge is again safe for buses to use.”

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Havering Council’s transport chief Cllr Barry Tebbutt said his first priority was safety. “It is a complicated project,” he added, “and unfortunately the nature of the works on site has led to delays.

“Council engineers continue to work with Network Rail towards reopening the bridge for all road users.

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“I would ask for residents’ continued patience whilst works continue.”

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