The bridge over the Farthinghoe Stream, just to the west of the village of Farthinghoe, has been inspected as part of our routine programme and is considered unsafe for all motorised vehicles.
The A422 will be closed from the recycling centre junction to New Road junction just outside Farthinghoe, in both direction, with immediate effect. Due to recent rapid and significant deterioration, the bridge is not capable of taking any traffic due to the structural concerns and will be closed until the end of the year. The severe weather over the last few months, both wet and dry, has accelerated this deterioration.
Is there a diversion?
We are working with Highways England on signage to show a diversion route. The diversion route will be using the A43 and the M40 between Brackley and Banbury. There will be a clear diversion for all traffic. Access to local residents will be provided.
When Northamptonshire Highways close a road and put a diversion in place we must provide an alternative route on a similar standard of road. Diversion are carefully chosen to follow roads of a suitable standard and width to carry all traffic and avoid weight restrictions.
This section of the A422 is a busy road with a speed limit of 50mph and the approved diversion route uses similar grades of road. This provides a safe route for vehicles unfamiliar with the area and local traffic.
Northamptonshire Highways is extremely conscious of the impact to the public and have not taken the decision to close this route lightly. The county council has a duty, not only to safeguard members of the public, but to manage our structures so that they do not pose an unacceptable risk to public safety.
We appreciate how important this route is to connecting village within South Northamptonshire. We will be monitoring all traffic and the impact the diversion and HGVs are having on the area during this closure.
What happens next?
We are now working with all partners to put in place a programme of repair works to get this route open to traffic.
During this time with team will be working with all parties to get a design and method of work approved and to put in place all the necessary permits and consents. This will include working with local utilities and the Environment Agency as the work is above a watercourse.
The bridge is also located between major gas and sewer mains, which will mean further agreements will be required before we are able to start repair works. This does constrain the way we are able to work as we must ensure that these mains are protected.
Every effort is being made to re-open the road as quickly as possible. We are currently investigating the possibility of opening the road at the end of the year, under temporary traffic lights, to allow traffic to use the route again. This will only happen if we are able to prop the bridge and make it safe.
A full closure would still be required for the actual repair works.
There will be regular updates on our website and on Twitter at @nnhighways.