Major update on Ash Road bridge with hopes it will end traffic jams in village

Colin Bexley at site
The Ash Bridge development should be finished in November according to Colin Bexley, VolkerFitzpatrick’s Project Manager at the site -Credit:Surrey Live

The beams are up in Ash as a major infrastructure project draws closer to completion. The installation of 19 beams over the railway lines marks a significant milestone in the construction of a new road bridge due to open this year.

To celebrate the occasion, about 200 people came to watch the beams be put in place. One by one each piece was lifted up by a 750-tonne crane and placed over the track. From 4am on Saturday May 4, a slick operation meant a beam was lifted nearly every 25 minutes until the job was completed.

For scale, the lightest of the beams was 24 tonnes (roughly the same as six Asian elephants) while the heaviest two were 45 tonnes. These beams go at the ends of the bridge and together weigh more than seven double decker buses. While wind could have made things much more difficult, the weekend went according to plan and finished ahead of schedule on Sunday, May 5.

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Crane next to the bridge
19 beams were lifted into place at the beginning of the May -Credit:Surrey Live

The installation of the beams means the £19 million project has completed one of its largest hurdles. If things continue to go to plan the bridge will open in November this year, it is not clear which date specifically it will re-open. The rest of the project, including landscaping, will be completed in February.

Colin Bexley, VolkerFitzpatrick’s Project Manager at the site commented: "The successful installation of the bridge beams at Ash Road marks a significant milestone in our project. It's a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, and it brings us one step closer to delivering a safer and more efficient transportation solution for the local community."

Those who saw the beams put in place were full of praise, calling it “magnificent” while also thanking “welcoming” staff.

Have a look at the progress here with some exclusive photos from the site:

The aim of the build is to ease the burden on the Ash level crossing that sits next to the station. Currently the barriers lift eight times an hour to let trains through and often cause traffic jams and rat running through the village. Once the bridge is complete the level crossing will be closed to vehicular traffic.

The scale of the building project means that certain measures have been put in place to protect the environment, such as culverts to carry off flood water, and hedgehog crossings.

However, there is still work to do. The bridge has yet to be connected on either side and some overhead power lines will need to be moved underground. This will cause some disruption to surrounding houses, who are also experiencing road closures.

Lead Councillor for Regeneration at Guildford Borough Council, Cllr Tom Hunt, said:“We were delighted with the turnout for the viewing sessions at Ash Road Bridge over the Bank Holiday weekend. Around 200 people came along to get a front row view of the beams being installed over the railway. Everyone I spoke to was very interested in the project and pleased to hear that it’s progressing well. We’re hoping that the bridge will be open to traffic in November.”

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