Consisting of four concrete bridges, Redbridge Causeway is a key access to the Port and City of Southampton from the West, carrying freight and commuters over both the River Test and the Southampton to Romsey railway line.
Councillor Perry said: “The Redbridge Causeway carries up to 60,000 vehicles every day. It is a key link between the Port of Southampton and the western side of Southampton Water, and therefore essential not only to the local economy of the South but also import and export business affecting the whole of the UK.”
Councillor Perry continued: “The bridges that form Redbridge Causeway are now in urgent need of repair, and as such they pose a major risk to the operation of the Port and its links to the rest of the country. The harsh marine environment has accelerated the deterioration of these concrete bridges and repairs are essential if weight restrictions and lane closures are to be avoided in the future. Any disruption of traffic onto the causeway is bound to impact the adjacent access on to the M271.
“All four structures which make up the Causeway need repair, at an estimated cost of £25 million. The County Council has already agreed to underwrite the first part of an £8.4 million repair bill for the Redbridge Causeway in order to keep the busy A35 route into Southampton open without the need for weight restrictions.
“However, this is a significant portion of our highways maintenance budget for the whole Hampshire County Council area. As well as regular budgeting for wear and tear on the county roads, we additionally allocate £10m each year for more substantive repairs through our “Operation Resilience” programme. The exceptional cost of repair to the Causeway could have a very serious impact on our ability to fund other road works. We, along with our colleagues at Southampton City Council, believe it is imperative that national funding is made available for this nationally important piece of transport infrastructure to improve access for the Port, which becomes even more important in light of the possible impacts of Brexit.”
The major refurbishment work needed to the viaduct involves extensive concrete repair works and the installation of a cathodic protection system in the concrete columns and other supports. Earlier this year, the County Council completed work to replace 21 expansion joints and a longitudinal joint across the Viaduct to stop water leaking into the concrete supports underneath.