Update from Balfour Beatty regarding Changes to Traffic Management at Bean Bridge
Following on from yesterday’s closure of the southbound side of the bridge at Bean Lane, we would like to provide an update on the situation and answer any concerns. We have been reviewing what we can do to minimise disruption to the road users, whilst ensuring the safety of both the public and our workforce. We will be carrying out works this weekend, to try and bring the programme of work forward, but we will keep all local residents and stakeholders updated of any changes. We apologise that unfortunately we were unable to provide notice ahead of the closure being implemented yesterday as this was a reactive response in light of concerns for the safety of the public and the workforce that needed immediate changes to be made.
Since implementing the closure, we have been working on a more robust solution, which will be in place from Friday 23 April, whereby all vehicles up to 2 metres wide will be able to travel on the bridge, in both directions. In order to install this, we will need to implement a full closure overnight, along Bean Lane between Bean northern roundabout and Bean southern roundabout. The closure will be in place in both directions on Thursday 22 April, between 9.30pm and 6am. Once this has been installed, all vehicles above 2 metres in width, will need to follow a diversion on the A2 to the next junction and return on the opposite side of the carriageway to exit. Whilst this closure is in place, we will be removing the existing island, which is situated to the south of Bean Lane bridge. This work may cause some disruption, but we will implement mitigation measures to try and minimise this, where possible.
We installed width restrictions on the bridge, as previously communicated, on Monday 19 April and we continued to monitor the traffic over the bridge into Tuesday 20 April. It became clear that the width restrictions were not being adhered to, therefore causing a significant safety risk to the public that needed to be addressed immediately. Safety is our number one priority and we needed to agree the safest way of proceeding. We liaised with a number of local stakeholders, including Kent Police and Kent County Council, and all agreed the only safe option that could be deployed immediately was to install a full closure of the southbound section of the bridge at Bean, this was not a decision that was taken lightly.
Various options were considered in planning the work, including two-way traffic lights, which were deemed unsuitable due to the amount of queues and backlog of traffic that this would cause in and around the local area. Due to the nature of the works requiring 24/7 access, we are unable to remove and reinstate any closures to keep the works to just during the days or nights.
We explored options with Kent Police to marshal any width restrictions that would be implemented, however resources do not allow this on this occasion. Our traffic marshals are unable to legally enforce any width restrictions and in doing so could place them at unnecessary risk. Our primary concern is to ensure the safety of everyone.
We are aware that bus companies service the area and use the bridge, including those that transport children to and from school. We have been in direct contact with both the bus companies and the Public Transport contact within Kent County Council and informed them of the closure and the diversion routes.
Due to the width of the bridge, emergency vehicles are currently not able to travel southbound over Bean bridge, but please be assured that we have been in contact to inform them of these works and they will use the most suitable route to access the area in the event of an emergency. From Friday 23 April, emergency vehicle access will be reinstated in both directions. We have signage installed in various locations, to give as much notice to road users that they will need to use alternative routes. The closures will also be communicated via the Highways England South East Twitter page to help road users plan their journeys in advance.
Again, we apologise for the inconvenience that this short-notice closure, due to immediate safety concerns, may have caused and stress that this was not a decision that was taken lightly but one that was deemed necessary. We thank you again for your ongoing patience and co-operation and If you have any further queries please contact me on the details below.
Communications Manager | Balfour Beatty | RDP South East
M: 07971 472517|E: natalie.o’[email protected]
20th April 2021
Changes to Traffic Management at Bean Bridge
The layout of the traffic management on the bridge at Bean has been altered this afternoon for safety reasons.
The decision has been made to close the bridge on Bean Lane in one direction, between Bean northern roundabout and Bean southern roundabout. This closure will be in place 24/7. The other side of the bridge will remain open for all vehicles. Pedestrian access will be maintained whilst these works are carried out.
This is due to remain in place for four weeks, whilst we carry out essential works on the bridge.
For road users wishing to access the south side of the bridge from the Bean northern roundabout, there will be various diversion routes in place. Traffic can join the A296 Watling Street to continue on the A2 coastbound carriageway to Ebbsfleet where they will be able to re-join the A2 London-bound. Additional diversions will also be in place, including the following:
- Road users can exit via the B255, London Road, A226 and the A2260.
- Road users can exit via the B255, A206 to join the M25.