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Business slams delay in reopening Bexley Village bridge as "dreadful"

PUBLISHED: 12:55 29 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:55 29 March 2016

Bexley High Street road closure.

Bexley High Street road closure.

Archant

The bridge is expected to partly reopen at the end of April

The “dreadful” prolonged closure of a bridge in Bexley Village has ruined a business’s entire year, according to its owner.

Works to replace the bridge at the Old Mill site started in January, as the council feared it could “fail” if it wasn’t replaced soon.

Since the end of February, the road heading in and out of the village has been closed to motorists, and was expected to reopen this week.

But Bexley council has since announced the closure will remain in place until the end of April.

Despite the delay in reopening the road, which has seen traffic diverted onto the A2, Bexley council says

it expects the works on the bridge to end in June, a month earlier than initially expected.

Works began after a number of surveys on the 19th-century bridge showed it is getting weaker.

Chris King, owner of Cheeks of Bexley, a wedding shop along the usually busy road, branded the closure as “dreadful”.

He said: “All of the shops are complaining. While they are working the place is like a ghost town.

“Trade is 50 per cent down. It’s going to ruin the whole year, people don’t buy their suits two weeks before the wedding. They’re just going to go somewhere else.”

However Bexley council claims shoppers can still access all of the stores in Bexley Village.

Pedestrian access is currently available into the village via a temporary footbridge.

A council spokesperson said: “The unavoidable delay in re-opening the road is due to complications with the original foundations of the old bridge, the need to pile the new foundations to a depth of 20 metres and complexities around temporarily diverting a large Thames Water sewer pipe which was an integral part of the old bridge structure.”

“Those who normally travel to Bexley Village on bus routes 492, 601 and B12 will need to change to route 132 or 229 at bus stops E and F on Gravel Hill during the closure.”

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