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Speedy bridge switch enables road widening

A COMPLEX rail bridge replacement operation will be the centrepiece of a £22M south London road widening scheme which got the go-ahead last week.

The scheme will be funded equally by the mayor's Transport for London department and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

It is classed as infrastructure upgrading to help redevelop the Thames Gateway area of east London and the Thames estuary.

The Victorian rail bridge to be replaced crosses the A206 Thames Road at Crayford, on a 1.8km long single carriageway stretch of the road. The road is mainly dual carriageway between the Blackwall tunnel and the M25.

'The bridge has to be replaced in a tightly programmed four day operation' said Bexley Council engineering project manager Dimitri Araj. 'We have already booked a possession for Easter 2006.'

In that time the brick arches must be demolished, new edge beams and deck erected and railway services on the North Kent commuter line restored.

'Obviously there will be earlier preparations and our designer Babtie has devised a scheme for preparing the abutments in advance' said Araj.

Final go ahead for the upgrade awaits the outcome of public inquiry held last December.

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