Plans to demolish town’s bridge have been put back due to technical issues

The bridge in Huntingdon is due to be demolished

The bridge in Huntingdon is due to be demolished - Credit: Archant

An iconic bridge on the A14 which is facing demolition has defeated engineers for the second week running.

The Highways England team had to call off plans to take the first section out of Huntingdon viaduct, which soars over the town’s railway station, over the weekend after running into technical problems.

It was the second weekend running that engineers had to call off the attempt to start major demolition work on the viaduct, which is coming down as part of the £1.5 billion upgrade of the A14.

Highways England said the snag was unlikely to have a significant impact on the timetable for the overall construction scheme and that engineers were set to continue, although nothing was expected to happen over the Easter holiday.

A spokesman said: “Work had to be stopped this weekend as they came across a technical problem which meant they couldn’t lift the beam out.

“It is unlikely to have any significant change to the overall programme of works.”

The spokesman added: “Overall the programme is due to last until early July when they hope to have removed all the bridge beams, but the schedule of (road) closures will remain in place.”

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Engineers have an unusual task of demolishing the viaduct, which is around 45 years old, without damaging the historic Brampton Road bridge which runs underneath, and the East Coast Main Line railway which passes below that.

They have opted to take the bridge down by removing its massive concrete beams one at a time, having installed a safety deck underneath the viaduct over the Christmas period and put a huge lifting machine in place. Some of the structure’s fixtures and fittings have already been removed.

The viaduct had earlier undergone reinforcement work, including the fitting of steel brackets over Brampton Road, in order to keep the heavily-congested A14 in operation until the upgrade could take place.

The 21-mile upgrade has been running ahead of schedule, with the 12-mile Huntingdon bypass opening a year early last December, and the rest of the scheme expected to be completed shortly, rather than the end of the year.

A network of roads around Huntindgon to replace the viaduct are the last on the timetable for completion and the redundant section of the A14 will become a local road.