Rail shutdown warning ahead of milestone in Chelmsford road improvement works

There will be no trains running between Shenfield and Colchester over Christmas due to demolition of a railway bridge in Chelmsford.

The demolition of Generals Lane bridge in Boreham – a vital step in the creation of a new radial distributor road between Essex Regiment Way and the Boreham interchange – is being scheduled for December 25 to December 29.

A number of rail shutdowns will also be required over a number of weekends in 2022 to facilitate the new bridge being moved into place over the railway.

The Beaulieu Radial Distributor Road (RDR) Phase 3 Infrastructure works require the construction of a bridge over the Great Eastern Main Line managed by Network Rail and A12 slip roads managed by Highways England.

Construction of the new bridge is scheduled to take more than a year and is forecast to open in spring 2023. Works have been delayed by a year due to Covid-19.

These works form part of a wider package of infrastructure projects associated with a new railway station at Beaulieu and bypass to unlock 9,000 new homes at the new Chelmsford Garden Community in North East Chelmsford and sites at Broomfield and Great Leighs while providing the potential for a further 5,000 new homes in the longer term.

Greater Anglia services will be affected by the bridge demolition.

On December 27 and December 28, rail replacement bus services will operate between Shenfield and Colchester; Braintree and Witham; Marks Tey and Sudbury.

Works to improve traffic flow around the three roundabouts that form the Boreham Interchange have already started and are expected to finish around autumn 2021.

A letter – sent on behalf of Countryside Zest to Chelmsford City Council –  read: “The demolition of the existing Generals Lane bridge is due to take place in December 2021.

“Construction of the new bridge is scheduled to take over a year and the current forecast opening is spring 2023.

“The revised forecast follows extensive negotiations with Network Rail for the rail shutdowns, which will be required over a number of weekends in 2022 to facilitate the bridge being moved into place over the railway.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter