A vital rail viaduct to the north east of Blackburn is being given a facelift by Network Rail to keep it in good order for the next 20 years.
Originally built in 1850, Cobwall viaduct carries the Blackburn to Clitheroe railway over two roads and a river in the Daisyfield area of the city. It is of national importance as it provides a link to the Settle to Carlisle railway line, is used as a diversionary route if the west coast main line is closed and it sees both freight and charter trains in addition to the regular passenger services.
Ray Chan, Network Rail’s Scheme project manager, said: “This is a key viaduct on the national rail network. It has stood the test of time for the last 172 years and the work we are doing will keep it going for at least another 20 years.”
The work will be carried out over the next six weeks and Beechwood Road will be closed for 24 hrs from midday Saturday each weekend. Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times but there are two diversionary routes for road users.
Local traffic will be diverted via Goldhey Street, Pelham Street, Florence Street and Whalley Old Road, and vice versa.
The diversion route for HGV traffic will be via Harwood Street, Philips Road, Blakewater Road, Greenbank Road, Gorse Street, Stanley Street, Appleby Street, Eden Street, Eanam, Barbara Castle Way, Larkhill and Whalley Old Road, and vice versa.
Both routes will be fully signed.
The eight-span viaduct has brick masonry arches with stone piers and is topped with safety railings for the protection of rail workers walking along the track above.
It has previously been strengthened with tie bars topped off with pattress plates, the large metal squares that appear to be bolted to the surface of the viaduct.
A number of the tie bars will be tightened as part of the project, which will include stitching, grouting, pointing and replacing the brickwork as necessary, removing any vegetation on the viaduct and painting the plates and handrails.
The work is expected to cost approximately £350,000.