A 7.5 tonne weight limit is being introduced on a busy bridge in Weston-super-Mare from tomorrow (Friday 21 December) due to safety concerns.
An inspection found significant defects to the Winterstoke Road bridge, which runs over the main Bristol to Taunton railway line.
The bridge, owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), was built in 1941 to provide access to the military aeroplane factory, later the Westland site.
It has gradually worsened over time due to the constant vibration from rail and road traffic and is now critical.
The weight limit is being introduced because of the potential risk to road users on the bridge and railway users on the track below.
Reducing the weight of traffic should minimise future deterioration and keep the bridge open, pending its future replacement.
Winterstoke Road is a busy route used by many heavy vehicles travelling to and from businesses in the area.
Vehicles up to and including 7.5 tonnes will still be able to use the bridge, meaning pedestrians, cyclists and the majority of vehicles won’t be affected.
Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes will be diverted along the A370.
An automatic number plate recognition system is set to be installed on the bridge to enforce the weight restriction.
North Somerset Council is currently in discussions with the MoD over the replacement of the bridge structure, which is likely to cost about £13m.
The MoD have already earmarked £7m to enable work to start almost immediately on designing and planning a replacement bridge.