A RAILWAY bridge in Wem is set to be replaced this December, with residents invited to learn more about the project at two drop-in sessions.

The bridge over Mill Street will be replaced between Friday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 29, but the road itself will be closed from Saturday, December 4 until the project is completed.

Two community drop-in sessions will be held in the coming weeks at Wem Town Hall so that residents can have the process explained to them and ask questions.

They will take place on Thursday, October 21, from 9am until 12noon and Monday, November, 1, from 4pm to 7pm.

While the road is closed a signed diversionary route will be in place along the B5063/Shawbury Road, A49 and B5065/Soulton Road.

The new bridge will be driven into place using a self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) which means that a temporary full road closure is only needed for 15 minutes.

Laura Townsend, scheme project manager for Network Rail said the project would ensure the continued safe operation of the line.

She said: “We’d like to thank the community in advance for their patience as we carry out this essential work to replace the bridge on Mill Street.

“Renewing this bridge will enable us to continue to run a safe and efficient railway resulting in better journeys for rail passengers and road users in the future.

“We know that there is never an ideal time to carry out work involving a road closure but using an SPMT to drive the bridge into place means we can minimise the impact on the local community as much as possible."

Meanwhile Councillor Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways, added: “We appreciate that this work will cause disruption while the road is closed, and we want to minimise any inconvenience caused.

“We’re working closely with Network Rail to ensure that people and businesses are aware of the work, and to ensure that appropriate diversion routes and traffic management measures are in place while work is being carried out.”

During the core work (from 11pm on Friday, December 24 to 4am on Wednesday, December 29, there will be a single lane closure and traffic lights in place at the roundabout between the B4576 and the B5063, as well as a full closure of the roundabout for 15 minutes on Sunday, December 26, while the new bridge is driven into place.

Pedestrian access will be maintained underneath the bridge as much as possible when work is not happening.

A rail replacement bus will be in operation on December 27 and 28 between Shrewsbury and Crewe.

Follow up work is planned to take place up until mid-January 2022.