Traffic restrictions are to remain in place on and around the A955 Leven Rail Bridge over the coming weeks as work to divert utilities off the structure continues.
A temporary traffic regulation order (TTRO) affecting users of the Bawbee Bridge - as it is known locally - was implemented by Fife Council on July 25th so that Openreach could carry out essential infrastructure works to construct two large underground concrete chambers to allow for the re-routing of hundreds of optical fibre circuits.
The installation of these chambers proved successful and ahead of schedule, so much so that Virgin Media was also able to attend and install their chambers for the preparation of their cable diversions along with Story Contracting undertaking utility preparation works as well, all within the allotted 10-week timescale covered by the TTRO.
With further preparatory and utility works needed ahead of the bridge coming down, coupled with the fact that many motorists are now accustomed to the current road layout, it has now been decided that the current traffic order should remain in place for the time being - rather than taking a stop/start approach to any roadworks which are required between now and the installation of the temporary carriageway and bridge over the River Leven.
The next phase will allow Story Contracting to undertake utility preparation works for the attendance of Openreach to carry out their cabling and jointing works on October 17th for six weeks. It will also enable Story Contracting to install a junction at the east roundabout for the temporary road and carry out further utility preparation works.
Scottish Gas Networks and Virgin Media are also expected to attend before the temporary crossing is operational, so the extension of the current TTRO will facilitate their works without additional disruption.
The present traffic management on site will therefore remain, with three-way lights, a southbound closure on Riverside Road and an eastbound closure on Wellesley Road.
All parties apologise for any ongoing inconvenience caused by the roadworks but have been hugely appreciative of everyone's patience as the works continue.
Councillor Colin Davidson, Levenmouth Area Committee convener, commented: "We can’t thank people enough for their forbearance during the last 10 weeks of roadworks around the Bawbee Bridge, and the next phase will be equally as essential as everyone works towards the bridge’s demolition and the temporary road being introduced.
"They say ‘you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs’ and I think that adage applies here.
"But while we’re all frustrated at the disruption any roadworks cause, I think the approach being taken to extend the traffic order provides some clarity and continuity for all road users – rather than putting up and taking down roadworks in fits and starts which does no-one any favours.
“The current arrangement, though inconvenient, is working well and keeping this in place is the most efficient way to carry out the work and minimise overall disruption.
"We’re all looking forward to a new, fit for purpose rail bridge being in place, and all of this work is evidence that real progress is being made."
The works are essential in order to deliver the replacement rail bridge which will tie in with the overall Leven railway project.
Once the temporary bridge is in place, which should be by the end of the year, the existing Bawbee Bridge will close to traffic in any case and a new road layout and diversion will be operational.
In the event of any unforeseen delays relating to the mobilisation of the temporary road, Fife Council has decided to implement a contingency to the existing TTROs until January 20th, 2023.