Repairs 'future-proof' bridge for next 50 years

The Town Bridge spanning the River Tone
The Grade II-listed Town Bridge carries the A3027 over the River Tone into Taunton town centre [BBC]

Extensive repairs to a major road bridge in Taunton will "future-proof it for the next fifty years".

The Grade II-listed Town Bridge carries the A3027 over the River Tone into the town centre.

Refurbishment works on the structure of the bridge, which dates from the 19th Century, have been taking place since January.

Somerset Council's Richard Wilkins said: "We've done a really good job to ensure we don't have to revisit this bridge in the near future."

Councillor Richard Wilkins standing on the bridge
Councillor Richard Wilkins said some parts of the original 1895 bridge still remain on the current bridge [BBC]

"Some aspects of the original bridge that was built in 1895, for instance the parapets and cast-iron work, are from that era, so parts of the bridge have spanned three centuries," he told BBC Somerset.

"It's incredible to think that a bridge originally designed in 1895 is still here and the main bridge in Taunton."

"It's an iconic listed building," added Mr Wilkins, the council's lead member for transport.

As well as structural work, the bridge required repainting ready for new lanterns, which are currently being designed, to be put in place.

Joe Sullivan in a high-vis jacket standing on the bridge
Project manager, Joe Sullivan, said steelwork underneath the bridge was in a worse state than originally thought [BBC ]

"There's a lot of paint repairs under the bridge," said project manager Joe Sullivan.

"When we uncovered some of the steel work, it was in a more sorry state than we had thought initially.

"There's obviously priming the steelwork and repainting it to various paint grades.

"There's also steel repairs we've had to do, and concrete repairs, so there's a lot more work that goes into it than people think."

Contractors also had to be careful not to contaminate the river, requiring large boardings over the bridge to contain the work.

The repairs, which started in January, are expected to be finished on schedule in two months time.

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