Works to maintain key route through the New Forest due to start in summer 2021

Hampshire County Council is moving forward with a project to replace the old Holmsley Rail Bridge, which carries the A35, a major route through the New Forest

Dec 7 2020

Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment for Hampshire County Council said: “We’ve been monitoring this bridge since it became the County Council’s responsibility in 2012 to ensure it could continue to be used by all traffic.  The bridge, which was built in 1908, has now deteriorated to the point that replacement is the only viable option. Last summer the speed limit was reduced, we installed temporary barriers, and added additional steel supports under the bridge.” 

A new bridge will be built alongside the existing one, and then traffic transferred over. The old old steel bridge will then be removed. The project also includes the re-alignment of approximately 380 metres of the A35.  The County Council is currently in the process of selecting a contractor to build the scheme, with a view to starting works towards the end of summer 2021 with completion by end of June 2022, thus reducing any traffic impacts during the tourism season.

Councillor Humby continued: “The new single span integral concrete bridge will minimise maintenance costs, while the improvements to the A35 will include enhanced drainage in the area and ensure safer travel on this key route through the New Forest.
“We have been working closely and extensively with the New Forest National Park Authority, Verderers, Natural England and Forestry England throughout to make sure this this scheme is carried out sensitively in this unique part of Hampshire.
“Local Councillors, nearby residents, and local businesses have been contacted as part of the scheme development and this will continue during the construction phases. I would like to emphasise that the Old Station Tea Rooms will be open for business as usual throughout the works.”

Utility diversions and ecological clearance work have been taking place throughout the autumn and will continue until the end of March 2021. 

Temporary road closures and lane closures will be required for some operations although every effort will be made to minimise disruption during these phases, and signed diversion routes will be in place. The road below the bridge, the C10, will be temporarily closed while new piled foundations and other elements of the proposed structure are installed and when the existing structure is demolished.