Mitcham Bridge has reopened for drivers after a two-year rebuilding project following a partial collapse in 2019.
Merton Council announced the news earlier this week and thanked residents for their patients while the construction work was taking place.
While the bridge, which connects Mitcham and Sutton, will be open for motorists and other road users, the council added that buses which previously passed over the bridge are likely remain on diversion for now.
That’s because there is still some outstanding maintenance and building work that needs to take place before they can safely pass. The final pieces of work reportedly include the reinstatement of the traffic island at the end of Wandle Road.
Merton Council said it was liaising with Transport for London (TfL) on plans for bus routes that used the bridge prior to the collapse.
#MitchamBridge reopened this Monday to vehicles, cyclists & pedestrians.
We’d like to thank our community & residents for their patience – we appreciate how disruptive works have been & are very pleased we’ve got the bridge open
— Merton Council (@Merton_Council) October 20, 2021
Councillor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and the climate emergency, visited the bridge on Tuesday (October 19).
“I’m delighted that we have finally been able to open the rebuilt Mitcham Bridge,” he said. “It’s fantastic to see the bridge open again and traffic flowing, but also the excellent new cycle lanes that we have on the bridge. I would like to take this opportunity of thanking residents who have accepted the massive change to their working lives daily for more than two years and borne the brunt of the disruption. We’d also like to thank the council staff from across many directorates and contractors – including Land & Water who built the bridge, as well at colleagues at TfL and other bodies working across the capital.”
The bridge partially collapsed in dramatic fashion amid heavy rains in June 2019 — an occurrence that is becoming increasingly likely as the climate emergency continues.
Merton Council declared a Climate Emergency situation in the borough in July 2019, just weeks after the bridge collapse.
Among the borough council’s working group on the climate emergency is Kelly Gunnell, an environmental scientist and urban ecologist from Wimbledon who is currently studying a PhD at King’s College London (Geography) “examining the role of natural infrastructure in mitigating flooding upstream of cities under climate change”.
The group’s final recommendations published last year included support for large increases in the number of trees in the borough that can help mitigate the impacts of heavy rainfall and prevent the kind of flooding that lead to the bridge’s collapse in 2019.