Closure of Westley Rail Bridge, Bury St Edmunds

Suffolk Highways will be closing Westley Rail Bridge along Newmarket Road, Bury St Edmunds to carry out major repair works

Westley Bridge will be closed from 13 February 2017 to 7 April 2017

In December 2013, a one lane system was introduced on Westley Rail Bridge, Newmarket Road in Bury St Edmunds due to its significant structural weaknesses. 

Strengthening works are currently underway on both sides of the bridge deck whilst maintaining the single lane of traffic flow down the centre of the bridge controlled by traffic signals. 

Bridge strengthening works

Final details have now been completed and plans are in place to close Westley Bridge from 13 February 2017 for up to 8 weeks to strengthen the bridge. For further details on the diversion routes for the duration of the closure, please view in the below tabs.  

Completion works 

Following the main strengthening works and once the road has been reopened on 7 April 2017, it will be necessary to undertake minor finishing works for a further 3 weeks. Traffic will be managed by temporary traffic signals during this period (9.30am - 3.30pm) Monday to Friday. Two-way traffic will resume out of these hours.  

On completion, Westley Rail Bridge will return to a double lane for traffic permanently, reducing congestion and improving travelling time through rush hour. 

Temporary no waiting/ parking restrictions

To ease the flow of traffic in Bury St Edmunds during the road closure, temporary no waiting/parking restrictions will be in place at:

  • Westley Road between Nos. 14 and 64, the restriction will apply 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday between 13/02/2017 and 07/04/2017

In addition, waiting restrictions may also need to be implemented at some or all of the following locations: 

  • Tollgate Lane – north side between Mildenhall Road and Lancaster Avenue
  • Tollgate Lane – south side from Lancaster Avenue to Beetons Way
  • West Road – west side from Westley Road to Priors Avenue
  • Westley Road – north/west side from Newmarket Road to Gainsborough Road.

The above temporary restrictions are required to be flexible over the extent of the closure. They will be implemented only if necessary, once we have established the revised traffic patterns in the town.

For further details on the diversion routes and some questions and answers, please view the below tabs:

Update: 19 April 2017

The final phase of the strengthening works will be undertaken between Thursday 20th April and Monday 24th April. 

The work will require temporary traffic signals to be erected between 09.30 and 15.30 on the 20th, 21st, & 24th, and for temporary traffic signals to be in place over the coming weekend from 07.00 on Saturday and 17.00 on Sunday.

This is a change to the arrangements previously indicated in the last update (dated 5th April) – The changes have been made to minimise disruption and coordinate works at road level and on the track below.

Update: 5 April 2017

The main strengthening works are now complete, with a few final operations left to be completed by the end of the week:

  • Completion of the bridge joints and white lining.
  • Completion of new safety barriers in the verges.
  • Surfacing of the footways on the approaches to the bridge on the north side.
  • General finishing works.

The bridge will be open again by 19.00 on Friday 7th April. 

Some finishing works to the parapets will be undertaken between Monday 10th April and Friday 21st April – Temporary traffic signals will be in place to facilitate these works during ‘off-peak’ hours (09.30 – 15.30). 

We will also be completing masonry repairs below the bridge, working at night during rail possessions, over the next few weekends – This work will require temporary traffic signals to be put in place on some Saturday nights during the rest of the month, and during the day on Sunday 23rd April.

Update: 28 March 2017

The surfacing has now been completed, which leaves the following works to completed over the next couple of weeks:

  • Construction of new bridge joints and white lining.
  • Construction of a new safety barrier in the south verge.
  • Construction of footways/verge on the approaches to the bridge on the north side.
  • Construction of safety barriers and guardrails in north verge.
  • Grouting and reconstruction of brickwork to bases of parapets.
  • General finishing works.

The bridge will be open again for 8th April. 

Update: 23 March 2017

The below points explain the work that has been completed since the last update and what is planned over the next week. As previously indicated, the high risk elements of the works are now complete and we remain confident that the road will re-open by 7th April. 

  • All of the reinforcement and concrete pours have now been completed, and the deck waterproofing system has been installed.
  • The kerbs have been laid on the approaches to the bridge, and the road surfacing has been prepared ready for re-surfacing.
  • Surfacing is programmed to be undertaken by the end of the week, followed by installation of the new bridge joints in the following week.
  • Safety barrier installation work is currently underway in the south verge, safety barrier work in the north verge will follow on after the footways have been reconstructed and the reinforced concrete footway slab over the bridge has cured – This work will continue up until the removal of the road closure.
  • Some additional defects have been exposed in the bridge parapets, and work will start this weekend (during track possessions) to address these defects.
  • We are continuing with masonry and concrete repair works below the bridge, working at night during rail possessions (This work is not reliant on the road being closed).

Update: 13 March 2017

Since the bridge strengthening works commenced in February 2017, we have completed the following tasks.

  • All the cracks in the existing bridge deck have now been repaired, all of the shear studs and post-installed reinforcement have been fixed in place, and the new reinforced concrete over-slab has been cast.
  • Whilst the concrete over-slab cures we are continuing with kerbing, footway & barrier works on the approaches to the bridge.
  • Once the concrete has finished curing we will apply the waterproofing membrane to the top of the deck (weather permitting), followed by kerbing, north footway slab construction, surfacing, movement joints, and completion of the barriers.
  • We have 5 or 6 more nights work left to do underneath the structure (concrete and masonry repairs). This will be necessary to complete this work using weekend rail possessions. Please note: This work does not require a road closure.

The high risk aspects of the works are now complete (i.e. those that were influenced by the construction details/condition of the existing bridge) and, other than the weather sensitive nature of some of the remaining works, there is now a high degree of confidence that the road will be opened by 7th April.  

We will continue to provide updates on the progress of works here. 

The bridge closure will impact on motorists, and every effort will be made to optimise traffic flow on diversion routes to minimise delays. 

There will be a full road closure of Westley Rail Bridge, Bridge No 44/22 on A1302, Newmarket Road, Bury St Edmunds from A14 Roundabout to Oliver Road. The road closure will be in place from 13 February 2017, for eight weeks. 

For the duration of the closure, the diversion route will be via J42, A14, J43, Compiegne Way and A1302.

For safety reasons and to manage the traffic flow heading into Bury St Edmunds, temporary traffic signals will be in operation at the crossroads of Westley Road and Hill Road between peak times only (7am-10am and 3pm-6pm) 

There will be no access for pedestrians or cyclists during the closure, nor emergency services as the works required mean that the deck will be impassable until resurfaced. 

Traffic will be managed by temporary traffic signals from 7 April 2017, for approximately 3 weeks outside peak times for this period (9.30am and 3.30pm) Monday to Friday.

Please Note: The two-way traffic will resume out of these hours.



Why are the strengthening works only now taking place?

When the original structure inspection took place and it was noted that major works were required 3 years ago, the bridge was made safe using temporary traffic signals. From then it was necessary for detailed conversations to take place to discuss viable solutions prior the design works to be completed. Suffolk Highways have continued to work closely with Network Rail in order to work in the vicinity of the bridge, discuss details on feasible plans to strengthen the bridge and undertake essential preparatory tasks ahead of any major works.  

What actions are you taking to limit disruption?

We are aware that a road closure will cause a high level of disruption. This is why the traffic signals have been up until the first day of the planned road closure. We have undertaken as much work as possible within the current traffic management arrangements and it was a conscious decision to begin the first week of work during the half term week. During the first week, we will monitor the site to overcome any issues ahead of the second week where we expect higher volumes of traffic. 

What days/ hours are you working?

The Suffolk Highways team have programmed the works based on working 6 days a week (Monday to Saturday) and working 12 hour days (7am-7pm). This makes some allowance for unforeseen problems and time for materials to cure etc.  

You have said that my road will be closed. Will I still be able to get in and out of my property?

Yes, you will be able to reach your property by following the diversion route. 

What about access for other services including emergency services?

We notify the emergency services, local bus operators and councils for bin collections, to allow time to make alternative arrangements. 

I run a business – how will people know if it is open?

We know it’s important customers are aware businesses are open, so where appropriate we will put up notices or display signs saying ‘Businesses open as usual’.

Will the works be noisy?

The nature of roadworks and the equipment that we use, means that works can be noisy. We will do everything we can to keep noise to the minimum possible. 

Will works definitely start on the date in your letter?

We plan roadworks in advance, so to take into account bad weather or other delays, we give dates that cover the range of days that we could be on site (with a few extra days planned in just in case). If we need to make major changes to the dates of works, we will let you know and update the information boards on sites.

Why is there a long diversion in place?

When we close a road and put a diversion in place, it needs to be a route that can be accessed by all shapes and sizes of vehicles. We make the diversion as clear as possible, but people may choose to use other local roads.

The works have finished. Why have signs and barriers been left behind?

Sometimes we need to leave sites with barriers around them so that new surfaces can finish drying off. Often our teams are scheduled to collect the signs at a later date. Occasionally we may leave signs behind by mistake, so if you do see them more than two weeks after we have finished give us a call and we will come and collect them.


We would be grateful for feedback on how our works were carried out and what you think of the result.

Fill out a survey if you have any comments about the bridge strengthening works or roadworks in Suffolk. Your feedback will help us to improve our service in the future.