3:00pm Thursday 7th March 2013
By Emma Cruces
A HALF-million-pound repair project to Accrington Railway Viaduct is under way.
Cherry pickers have been set up beside the historic structure to carry out bridge inspection work, ahead of ambitious repair plans for the viaduct following safety concerns.
Network Rail hopes to complete repairs to stonework defects, and a substantial fracture in the masonry, by April.
The rail authority also plans to painstakingly match new bricks and mortar to the existing structure to keep Accrington’s most striking landmark looking its best.
The Grade II listed structure, which runs from Blackburn Road to Milnshaw Lane, currently has a number of defects, including small trees growing out of the structure and defective drainage and pipes.
The work involves the installation of tie bars and pattress plates to stabilise arches, and brickwork repairs to include stitching and grouting cracks, as well as re-pointing and replacing brickwork.
A new drainage system will also be put in place throughout the structure.
Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson said he applauded the investment.
He said: “Any investment in our heritage is to be welcomed, whether it be buildings, or the viaduct.
“We are lucky in Hyndburn to have such amazing architecture. Network Rail’s work on the viaduct will hopefully keep it in top condition.
“Lit up at night, it is a striking feature in the town.”
Network Rail, which owns the Victorian structure, applied for listed building planning consent in order to make a number of repairs to keep it in working order. A report said engineers had discovered water seepage at points across the structure.
The most severe defect is on span six, near King Street, described as a ‘substantial fracture’ which requires the installation of metal plates to help the load bearing capacity of the structure.
Underneath the arches
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