New strengthened bridge open

A Barking bridge has been strengthened to allow it to carry lorries and two-way traffic after residents, businesses, the council and politicians spent a decade calling for action.

The improved Renwick Road Bridge, which has been closed for months while repairs were underway, was reopened on Friday.

The central span of the bridge has been strengthened and a new central pier built. Other improvements include resurfacing, deck waterproofing and a replacement of expansion plates.

The bridge had been subject to a width restriction since 2003 because it was not strong enough to carry the weight of heavy goods vehicles. This meant HGVs could only access Thames View via the River Road/Movers Lane junction of the A13, or Choats Road/Choats Manor Way.

For around 10 years the council, local residents, businesses, Barking MP Margaret Hodge and London Assembly member John Biggs have called for action to improve the bridge.

It is hoped the works, carried out by Network Rail, will greatly improve traffic flow to Thames View Estate and the industrial areas between the A13 and the Thames.

Mrs Hodge described the reopening of the bridge as “fantastic news” for those living on Thames View and Barking Riverside and for businesses based in Creekmouth.

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She said: “It will mean that traffic – including the large 40 tonne lorries – can use the bridge both ways which will help ease congestion on and off the estate.

“It’s taken 10 years and quite a few meetings with Network Rail who are responsible for the bridge.

“At one point, we were told that the bridge would have to be demolished and replaced with another one. That didn’t happen but there were times when some people thought we would never get the bridge repaired.

“But we have done it.”