THE new steel bridge deck for Storesbrook Bridge on the Bromyard Road has been installed by crane.

Herefordshire Council says it is “delighted” with progress so far, and that the project remains on schedule.

The county council took the hard decision to close the Bromyard Road and repair the Victorian bridge, even though the project would take a total of 14 weeks to complete, with a completion date earmarked for April.

Next month, the bridge and the Bromyard Road, one of the main routes north to Worcester from Ledbury, should be re-opened to traffic.

A council spokesman said, earlier this week: “Work to replace the bridge deck at Storesbrook Bridge on the B4214, between Staplow and Ledbury (Bromyard Road), has been ongoing since early January and remains on schedule.

“We are delighted to confirm that the new bridge deck is on its way to the site, where it will spend two days being waterproofed and prepared for installation.

"Subject to all preparatory works being completed and acceptable weather conditions for safe crane operation."

Yesterday, the council spokesman said all had gone according to plan.

The bridge decking weighs in the region of 20 tonnes and contractor Knights Brown used a 220-tonne crane for the heavy work.

Inspections by Herefordshire Council contractor, Balfour Beatty identified “ a steady decline in condition”.

Before work began, a Herefordshire Council spokesman said of the late Victorian bridge: “It has now reached the end of its working life and needs to be replaced.

“Although the closure will cause inconvenience for several weeks, the new bridge will serve future generations for many decades to come.”

It has also been revealed that the collapse of the bridge could have led to a widespread and long-lasting broadband internet blackout in the Ledbury area, because it supports one of the main internet cables for the area.