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Rebuilding Bishopsford Road bridge: progress updates


Following its partial collapse during heavy rainfall in 2019, we are in the process of rebuilding Bishopsford Road bridge. The damaged bridge was demolished in summer 2020, and on this page we aim to provide regular updates for residents.

The new bridge will (within the space available) be more accommodating to pedestrians and cyclists, and will include:

  • a segregated cycle lane on the western side of the bridge (northbound)
  • a road that is narrower than the previous bridge, but wide enough to accommodate A-road traffic and abnormal loads (the speed limit is 20mph)
  • a 3-metre wide shared surface for pedestrians and cyclists on the eastern side of the bridge.

A full timeline is below. To stay informed on progress, you can sign up for our regular newsletter, or read some of the most frequently asked questions about the project.

November 2020 update

SGN works – Rawnesley Avenue and Riverside Drive

SGN are undertaking works to boost the gas supply in the area to avoid gas pressure losses to local residents and businesses.

The SGN works will start on the north side of the bridge, at the end of Rawnesley Avenue and Riverside Drive.

SGN's works are being carried out independently of the bridge rebuild – even if the bridge rebuild was not happening now, SGN would need to restore the gas pressure on both sides of the Wandle to a reliable level for local homes and businesses, particularly for heating and cooking during the winter months.

Please direct any queries towards SGN. The contact details for SGN are:

  • Freephone customer service number: 0800 912 1700
  • Email: customer@sgn.co.uk
  • Post: SGN, Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road, Perth PH1 3AQ
  • SGN website 

The planning application for the new bridge has now been approved by our Planning Committee (22 October 2020), and we will now approve a contractor to deliver the building work.

You can view the planning application documents online (reference 20/P2438).

Work will now move forwards as detailed in the timeline below.

Outline programme

April - July 2020

  • Broken bridge demolished
  • Public consultation carried out on designs for the new bridge
  • Site surveys undertaken to inform design and construction
  • Procurement starts for the contractor to build the new bridge

August 2020

  • Planning application submitted seeking permission for the new bridge to be built
  • Works continue with gas, water and other utilities to prepare for the construction of the new bridge

September - October 2020

Merton’s planning applications committee considers the application for the new bridge

The council awards the contract to build the new bridge

November 2020 - Spring 2021

Construction of the new bridge

October 2020 update

Thank you to all the people and organisations who gave their views on the new designs for Bishopsford Bridge. This feedback has been incorporated into the designs for the new bridge.

In May and June, 260 people and organisations responded to the opportunity to comment on the designs for the new bridge. Feedback from the consultation has influenced the design to improve safety and give more space for cycling and walking.

Find out more in the October 2020 Newsletter.

If you would like to find out more on the planning application, see the Planning Explorer (reference 20/P2438).

The target date for the planning application to be decided is Merton Council's Planning Applications Committee on 22nd October 2020.

August 2020 update – have your say on designs for the new bridge

The planning application for the new Bishopsford Bridge has been submitted to the council's planning service.

You can view the new designs and details of the planning application on the Planning Explorer.

Have your say by 1 October 2020. The planning application reference number is 20/P2438.

July 2020

The demolition of the broken bridge has been completed. There will be some activity on site and in the surrounding area with the utility companies undertaking preparation works for the new bridge.

Merton’s Design Review Panel have reviewed the designs for the new bridge. Their feedback will be included in the planning application which will be available here from 14th August 2020.

June 2020 update – demolition of Bishopsford Bridge

Demolition is underway on Bishopsford Bridge.

Designs are being prepared for the new bridge. We will submit a planning application in June 2020 and there will be more opportunity to comment on the designs as part of the planning process

May 2020 – consultation on design options

Thank you to all those who contributed to the consultation on the design options for the new Bishopsford Bridge – we've received responses from more than 260 people and organisations.  As well as commenting on the two options, people also told us they want the design to include extra space for cycling and walking. We are reviewing all the comments received in preparation for submitting a planning application for the new bridge in June 2020.

Background report – design options for the new Bishopsford Bridge

March 2020 update

On Tuesday 25 February 2020, Merton Council's Cabinet gave the go-ahead to demolish and re-build Bishopsford Bridge, following its partial collapse into the River Wandle after heavy rainfall last June. 

Following the recent appointment of Land and Water, a specialist river and canal engineering company, work is starting onsite to demolish the old bridge. Construction of the new bridge will begin in the summer with completion set for spring of 2021. 

Start on site and COVID-19

We have carefully considered postponing the full demolition of the partially collapsed bridge in the light of COVID-19.

Continuing with these essential works and demolish the bridge will:

  • significantly reduce the risks of flooding to people's homes and the potential evacuation of nearby properties to communal rest centres. This is something we want to avoid at all costs at any time, but particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • reduce the risk of further, sudden damage to electricity, gas, water and other utility services that run through the bridge.
  • improve travel times for the emergency services, particularly the fire services from Mitcham Fire Station located near the bridge.

Please be assured that we are working closely with government and Public Health England to ensure we continue to follow the very latest advice and we are as prepared as we can be.

We very much appreciate the support of our partners in the utilities and construction sector in relation to completing this project as soon as possible. Public Health England advice including social distancing will be adhered to on site.

Programme of works

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, changes to the programme of works have and will continue to take place. Please bear with us, we are doing all we can to keep to the schedule, and we will keep this webpage updated with any changes.

March - April 2020

  • Land and Water to start work on site, removing the broken parts of the bridge.
  • Engage with the local community on the look and details of the new bridge. We were planning to hold community events to talk to residents face to face, but unfortunately, due to the current situation this will now take place online.
  • Seek planning permission for the new bridge.
  • Undertake essential ecology and other survey work.

June 2020 – spring 2021

  • Construction of the new bridge

If COVID-19 guidance changes and we are advised by government to stop work, the council and its partners have an ongoing flood resilience plan in place to ensure flood risk is managed. This includes continually monitoring river levels so that in the event that a flood alert is issued, contingency actions can be put in place quickly.

February 2020 update

News: Council gives the green light to re-build Bishopsford Bridge

Cabinet decision on reopening the bridge

On Monday 24 February 2020 Merton Council's Cabinet considered the preferred approach to reopening Bishopsford Road Bridge and resolved to progress with building a new bridge.

The report has been informed by two studies on the future of the bridge

Newsletter

We are distributing over 3,000 newsletters to local residents and businesses to update on Bishopsford Road Bridge.

January 2020 newsletter

December 2019

We have completed works to stabilise the bridge and are now assessing design and construction options for the repair or replacement of the bridge.

Works on the bridge have been continuing throughout November and December with experts carrying out detailed assessments on-site. As well as stabilising and assessing the structural condition of Bishopsford Road Bridge, the Council has been working to ensure that flood risk is managed throughout the works and looking at options for the permanent plan for the bridge. Independent advisory reports have been commissioned, which will include design options for the repair or replacement of the 200 year old structure, these are expected to be completed early in the New Year after which a timescale will be drawn up for work to be carried out. In the meantime, we are working closely with partners to take every possible step to minimise disruption to residents as they go about their daily lives.

Since the previous newsletter in November we have:

  1. Worked closely with Transport for London to introduce the new number 718 bus route.
  2. Installed CCTV and ANPR cameras, which resulted in six penalty charge notices being issued against vehicles illegally driving over the footbridge.
  3. Overseen essential gasworks carried out by SGN, which are due to be completed before Christmas.
  4. Installed lighting on the footpath in Watermeads.
  5. Met a number of technical specialists onsite to assess the structure of the bridge to inform future construction and consider flood risk.
  6. Installed new hoarding and lighting in preparation for works to start
  7. Worked with utility companies on site to prepare for their services to cross the river Wandle in the future.

November 2019

We started strengthening works on 23 April 2019 as part of the annual highway maintenance scheme. We planned to complete the strengthening works by 22 July. Due to the floods that occurred on 10 June, the river bed and foundations of the bridge were "scoured" (eroded) and therefore undermined. This led to the partial collapse of the northern arch on 14 June.

The southern arch was unaffected and the central arch suffered minor structural damage. Due to the failure of the bridge, the road will continue to be closed until the bridge has been repaired and is safe for pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Bus services

From Saturday 30 November Transport for London has introduced a new bus route, number 718, between Morden Station and Rose Hill Roundabout running via London Road, Morden Hall Road, Wandle Road and Bishopsford Road. Route 718 will stop at all route 118 bus stops between Morden Station and Wandle Road and all route 280 bus stops between Wandle Road and Rose Hill Roundabout. More information is available on Transport for London's website.

Site safety

New hoarding has been put-up around the site, replacing the old fencing.

CCTV / ANPR cameras

CCTV and ANPR cameras are enforcing against vehicles illegally driving over the footbridge. So far we have issued six penalty change notices. Pedestrian guardrails and signs have also been installed as a further deterrent.

Ravensbury Park

Lighting has been installed on the footpath in Ravensbury Park and on the hoardings at the entrance to the footbridge. The path has had a more durable surface laid, vegetation has been cut back and guardrails have been installed. There are no current plans to reduce the height of the brick wall alongside London Road but this will be kept under review.

Ravensbury Park / London Road wall

The brick wall alongside London Road and the park has been raised as an issue where people, particularly children walking to school, feel unsafe. As the evenings get darker, the Council believes that reducing the height of the wall to knee-height will improve security and visibility for pedestrians and cyclists and reduce anti-social behaviour. We are continuing to monitor how we can improve the sense of safety in the area.

Essential gas works

When the bridge partially collapsed, gas mains were re-routed to ensure that properties in Ravensbury Ward continued to receive a gas supply. As the demand for gas has increased, due to the cold weather, Southern Gas Networks are carrying out essential upgrades. Work started on 21 October around The Drive, Arras Avenue, Victory Avenue, Leonard Avenue, Seddon Avenue and Florence Avenue. Temporary traffic lights are in place near junctions. Work is expected to be compete before Christmas.

On-site activities

Thames Water, Southern Gas Networks and other utility companies have visited the site to advice on their preferred permanent route for their services to cross the river Wandle. They have also advised on the measures which will be necessary to keep the utilities running safely now and in the future.

Experts have been assessing the structure of the 200 year old bridge to inform design options for its repair or replacement.

Engineers have reviewed the river and its surroundings to determine what impact the repair or replacement of the bridge would have on ecology, water quality, river flow and flood risk.