A1 Wentbridge Viaduct and Wentedge Road Bridge
Following several reactive repairs, we need to carry out a structural inspection and renew the waterproofing layer on the viaduct at Wentbridge. We also aim to complete major repairs to Wentedge Road Bridge at the same time. We plan to start this work in April 2023 and aim to finish Spring of 2024. This work is substantial and is likely to cause disruption to customers travelling on the A1.
Wentbridge viaduct bridge, which opened to traffic in 1961, is a concrete motorway bridge carrying the A1 over the River Went. Wentbridge village sits immediately west of the bridge with Brockerdale Nature Reserve to the east.
Wentbridge viaduct is an internationally renowned structure; it was chosen to feature in the Twentieth Century Engineering Exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art and is a heritage listed building.
“The deck is of post-tensioned concrete, with six box cells, and sits on inclined cellular reinforced concrete legs which are pinned at top and bottom, with precast concrete hinges. The prestressing cables are external to the box webs and are continuous over the full 143m length of the deck. This was the first use of external prestressing in the UK. Additional internal cables are provided in the top slab over the piers, and vertical prestressing is used to counteract shear in the side spans” (Credit - http://happypontist.blogspot.com/)
The bridge needs several essential repairs in addition to our regular maintenance, these repairs were identified during recent inspections of the structure.
While the road is closed, we’ll also use the time to make more detailed inspections of the bridge and complete other repairs nearby at Wentedge Road Bridge.
We are replacing the central pier at Wentedge Rd Bridge plus associated works on the top of the structure including replacement of the parapets, joints, and surfacing.
These are substantial repairs; we may need to revise timescales once the extent of the repairs are uncovered.
We’re making several essential repairs and improvements for safer and smoother journeys for customers; this work will extend the life of each bridge and reduce the number of reactive repairs and unplanned road closures on this route.
Public information event - your feedback
On Saturday 11 February we held a public information event at Darrington Golf Club for local residents and road users with questions about our work at Wentbridge and Wentedge, on the A1.
We would like to say thank you to everyone who attended; your questions and feedback will help us to continually review the impact of the work and inform concise methods of communication.
We were also pleased to meet a resident who worked on Wentbridge Viaduct following it's opening in 1961, as an employee of the former West Riding County Council.
Here is a summary of some of the key questions raised, and our answers.
Why are HGVs being diverted through Ackworth when there is a weight restriction?
We are signing high sided vehicles (not all HGVs) through Ackworth on the A628 during our eight northbound overnight closures as this is the only route available due to height restrictions on the A639 (a low bridge).
When choosing a diversion route, there are many factors to be considered such as height and weight restrictions, access to properties, impact on communities and the road alignment. When we have to divert onto local roads, we are led by the local authority who advise us of options and approve the final route.
Wakefield Council enforce the environmental weight restriction which is in place on a section of the A628 in High Ackworth. This is not a structural weight limit, but one in place to reduce HGV movements through the village. As there are no other options for high sided vehicles, this restriction has been revoked while the overnight closures are in place.
As soon as our eight overnight closures are completed, the restriction will be put back in place and this will continue to be enforced by Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Police.
We will continue to signpost all other northbound traffic to use the M18 and M62, south of junction 35 and for traffic north of Doncaster, we are signposting to a diversion on the A639 with the exception of high sided vehicles.
Why can't traffic be diverted onto Went Lane and Ackworth Road Featherstone?
Whilst we accept the A628 is not an ideal diversion route for all vehicles (given the narrow sections of road and proximity to properties), the alternative route suggested by some residents of using Went Lane and Ackworth Road Featherstone for example is equally if not more, unsuitable.
The proposed route is an A road whereby the alternative is a B road; Went Lane also has narrow sections along its length including a ‘shuttle working’ traffic signal arrangement to control traffic flow over the River Went. Furthermore, the junction of Ackworth Road and Pontefract Road would struggle to physically accommodate large vehicles when stopped (or queued) at the traffic signals, potentially gridlocking the east and west bound directions along the A645 due to the one-way traffic flow arrangement at the junction.
HGV traffic that is low enough to clear the low bridge at Hardwick Road Pontefract will be encouraged to use the A639 and only those over height HGVs will take the more circuitous route along the A628. This should mean only a small number of HGVs will be required to use the A628, although it is recognised that the desire would be to have none of these vehicles along this route.
As a result, on this occasion, we must send high sided vehicles along the A628.
How will you deter traffic from using the A1 during the main work?
- We are signing the roadworks from the M25, Peterborough and Scotch Corner to advise customers of likely delays and are asking them to consider using the M18, M62 or M1 where possible, before they join queuing traffic.
- We are using our channels to ask haulage companies to plan ahead, use alternative routes and not to follow sat navs onto unsuitable roads in Wentbridge, East Hardwick and the surrounding villages.
- We will have mobile electronic signage on the approach to the closure to advise customer of real time queuing information during peak times.
- We have placed extensive static signage in the local area to advise drivers of unsuitable roads and no through roads. Following this meeting, we will add others to areas which were highlighted by local residents, after consultation with Wakefield Council.
- We are asking people to avoid using their satnavs. Our variable messaging signs will instruct drivers of the most suitable route to take. Drivers can also keep up to date with our real time updates on Twitter - @HighwaysYORKS or www.trafficengland.co.uk
Will the southbound petrol station and services be open?
Yes, when the main work starts and the A1 between Barnsdale Bar and Ferrybridge is under contraflow, the BP garage will be open as it sits outside the crossover points and contraflow.
What’s the plan for the new A1 Doncaster to Darrington road scheme?
A1 Doncaster to Darrington is a Roads Investment Strategy (RIS3) Pipeline scheme. The RIS3 Pipeline is made up of 32 potential future schemes and all schemes are being assessed against a broad range of criteria including value for money, affordability, the environment and deliverability.
We’re working on providing as much information to the Department for Transport who will consider the next steps as a portfolio of schemes. The pipeline schemes remain uncommitted until the government publishes the Roads Investment Strategy 3 (RIS3): 2025-2030. Only then will we know which schemes will be taken further. The final decision will rest with the government.
- Resident comments on a water run off issue near Wentbridge Viaduct.
- Length of notice for residents living in Ackworth re customer letters.
- Individual comments and queries from those residents living directly on the A1.
- Queries around litter and welfare facilities for the workforce.
- Potential of congestion in Pontefract town centre at Town End.
- Questions about through traffic in Wentbridge, East Hardwick and Westfield Lane.
Thank you to everyone for your attendance at this event; we are looking at all the feedback and comments to help inform our plans and how we monitor the impact on residents and drivers as the work gets underway.
Alongside our Yorkshire supply chain, contractors and suppliers, we are supporting good causes in the community while we complete our work on the A1.
You can read more about the projects and places we are helping here