Project profile: Benton Bridge
Benton Bridge was constructed in 1903, it carries an unclassified road over the former Fairfield Loop branch line.
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Location: Ilford, London
Project managed by: National Highways on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT)
Status: Not open to the public
Benton Bridge was constructed back in 1903 in Ilford, North London. Below, the bridge was used by trains on the Great Eastern Railway (GER) - connecting Ilford to Woodford. The GER built the line to foster suburban growth in Edwardian Ilford and Chigwell; the results were mixed. In 1947 this branch was the first to go due to poor use.
About the structure
The bridge features nine wrought iron riveted plate girders with brick arch construction. The arches have been covered with concrete.
The abutments and the wing walls are constructed in brick, with additional concrete in just the abutments - for extra stability.
Historically, concerns have been raised with reports of falling brickwork and corrosion of the iron – all posing a significant safety risk to the public and users of the bridge. In 1984 Redbridge Council carried out emergency works to strut the brickwork to maintain the safe use of the road, which was heavily used by traffic.
The bridge neighbours a primary school and teachers had expressed worries for the safety of their students as far back as 1970. An assessment was carried out by Jacobs on behalf of BRB (Residuary) Ltd in 2005, and the bridge had been partially infilled before we took on management of the Estate in 2013. The partial infilling work and build-up of rubbish and vegetation made assessing the bridge difficult.
What is the project?
Due to its history and our inability to get under the bridge to safely inspect it we decided infill was the most cost effective long-term solution to the ongoing issues.
What work needed to be done?
We approached the relevant Local Planning Authority and Highway Authority in 2016 highlighting our concerns and proposing our works solution.
There were no objections to our proposed works or the works ultimately undertaken from London Borough of Redbridge Council. There were, and remain, no known plans for the re-use of space below the bridge.
Ahead of work commencing, we conducted ecology surveys and removed fly-tipped materials.
What stage is it at?
Infilling works were completed in September 2020 and we checked for settlement of infill under a second phase of work in August 2021.
In December 2022 concerns were raised by a member of the public around the powers used by National Highways to carry out the necessary work on the bridge. We are now discussing various options with the London Borough of Redbridge Council to ensure the structure – and the public - remain safe.
Find out more about our approach to infilling.
Use the arrows to browse through the image gallery of Benton Bridge.