A PUBLIC meeting is being held this week to discuss plans to upgrade a railway bridge on one of the main routes between outlying villages and Bridgwater.

For many years, local councillors have been calling for work to repair and improve the Huntworth Railway bridge, on Huntworth Lane, which is a key route into the town and the M5 for residents from Moorland, Fordgate and Burrowbridge.

Network Rail have said they will carry out the repair works on the deteriorating bridge in the New Year, however on Wednesday (December 5), a public meeting will be held to discuss the road closure being planned.

The work will include improving the weight capacity of the bridge. The work was previously scheduled to take place in 2014 but was prevented from happening by the Somerset floods.

Cllr Julian Taylor, of North Petherton Town Council, has been following the issue closely for nearly 20 years.

“The plan at the moment is for the road to be closed for 16 weeks from March 2019, but contractors Balfour Beatty will only be able to work after 12.30am until the first morning trains at about 4am,” Cllr Taylor said.

“They will also have total track possession for 52 hours over two weekends to replace the existing deck stations.

“Myself and Cllr Richard Ives who have met with Network Rail and asked whether a longer period, or periods, of track possession would allow the work to be completed in a shorter time.”

Cllr Taylor estimates motorists will face a 14-mile detour which will take around 25 minutes.

A Network Rail representative will give a short presentation about the work at the public meeting which is being held at Moorland Village Hall at 7.30pm.