£1.4m project will make sure bridge can stay open

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IMPORTANT work on a bridge will prevent future traffic chaos in a town.

Next week will see a decision on whether £1.4m will be spent on Haslar Bridge in Gosport.

The structure needs work to prevent further corrosion and general wear and tear.

It will fall to the executive member for transport at Hampshire County Council, Councillor Sean Woodward, to decide whether to pledge the cash.

The bridge, which runs from the town centre to Haslar and Alverstoke, has been called a ‘vital route’ by Gosport councillor Peter Edgar.

He has been involved in the Haslar site and said the bridge is a key part of Gosport.

‘People in Gosport took Hampshire County Council to the high court in the 1970s to have the bridge installed after it was dismantled during to Second World War,’ he said.

‘It is a key route for people getting in and out the town centre.

‘The works are vital because if the bridge was to fall in disrepair, it would cause considerable traffic problems.

‘It would be quite horrendous for traffic in the town centre, particularly Stoke Road and South Street.’

The decision for the potential £1.4m is being made next Tuesday at the economy, transport and environment executive meeting.

The scheme will include protecting the columns, crossbeams and all other parts of the bridge which are prone to corroding as well putting a non-toxic protective coating on sections of the bridge deck.

Money will also be spent repairing the concrete columns where needed.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘Haslar Bridge is a very important route in Gosport.

‘It is important that we spend the money now to get the repairs done before the bridge gets to a state where it needs to shut.

‘If that were to happen, there would be more traffic chaos in Gosport than there is already.

‘The money will be used to prevent further corrosion so the bridge can stay in full use.’

If the scheme is approved, the work will be carried out this summer.

It is expected to take 18 weeks and the bridge will remain open.

Leader of Gosport Borough Council Mark Hook said: ‘This scheme shows the county council is committed to keeping infrastructure in Gosport sound.

‘It is sensible to have a preventative scheme rather than wait for the bridge to fall into disrepair.

‘It is a vital structure in Gosport and needs the investment.’