Popular walking route between Norwich and Aylsham could be cut short unless bridge over River Wensum is repaired
Archant Norfolk 2018
A popular railway path between Norwich and Aylsham could be cut in half unless a bridge along the route is repaired.
Broadland District Council is facing a £150,000 bill to repair the structure which takes the Marriott’s Way path over the River Wensum in Attlebridge.
Cabinet members were told at a meeting on Tuesday that the 5m high bridge could be removed, but it would result in the 26-mile route being cut short.
Instead, they were advised that it would be cheaper to carry out much-needed repairs.
The bridge is one of several along Marriott’s Way and the Bure Valley Railway which required work in the next five to 10 years.
Repairs are estimated to cost Broadland District Council around £640,000 in total.
But Stuart Clancy, cabinet member for economic development, said it was not just Broadland which had an interest in bridge maintenance on both routes.
He suggested approaching Norfolk County Council and North Norfolk District Council in regard to sharing the costs.
While Broadland owns part of the Marriott’s Way route up to the western side of the bridge in Attlebridge, the rest is owned by the county council.
Mr Clancy said: “I am quite sure Norfolk County Council would not want to see Marriott’s Way finish where the bridge ends.
“There is an element of cost sharing.”
Cabinet members were told that a footbridge in Hoveton also needed to be removed and replaced, costing around £120,000.
The structure provides safe access to the centre of the village from the main line station, but is rapidly deteriorating.
Despite the bridge being owned by Broadland, it is within North Norfolk’s jurisdiction.
Mr Clancy added: “I appreciate they [the councils] might not willingly say ‘thank you very much, here is the money’, but they do have an interest in these bridges.”
Major repairs include re-waterproofing, repair of girders which have rusted, and re-painting iron and steel members to prevent future rusting.
Broadland owns 24 bridges along both of the former railway lines.
Cabinet members agreed that more accurate costing were needed for the high priority repairs.