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Busy Hove road closed for 18 months after bridge branded unsafe
A busy city centre cut-through is to be closed for 18 months – after a railway bridge was deemed unsafe.
Network Rail was forced to shut the crossing point in Wilbury Villas, Hove, when a routine check revealed a crack in the iron structure last month.
A six-foot fence and barricade was installed immediately to stop motorists passing through the area while further inspections were carried out.
Now, Brighton and Hove City Council has applied for a temporary traffic notice to close the road for 18 months.
Melanie White, business manager of The Dock, a café on the bridge, which has only been open five months, said: “This makes things pretty difficult for us now. Business has been really slow since this has happened.
“We knew it was possible for it to be shut for a while but we were hoping it would be quicker than this.”
Ms White added she was hoping to get an advertising board installed so people were aware it was still open for business.
The bridge is the responsibility of Network Rail although Brighton and Hove City Council is involved as it looks after road closures.
Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout.
Ward councillor Ruth Buckley said: “It’s a shame for local residents that the bridge will be shut, but I’m glad that the fault has been detected and that the structure will now be made safe.
“I’ve been working with The Dock, which has suffered as a result of the closure, to see what we can do to help them during this time.”
A council spokesman said: “It’s a residential side street rather than a main route so while this closure is an inconvenience for very local residents we’re not expecting it to have any impact on the wider road system.
“There are alternative routes – and those are the routes most used over the railway in this area.
“Until the rail company have completed their surveys in the next month or two we won’t know exactly how long it might be closed for.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We will be working closely with the local authority to find a solution to the problem.”