A councillor who campaigned for vital funding to repair one of Burton’s busiest bridges has spoken about the need for essential works which will close the major route for three months.
Staffordshire county councillor Conor Wileman has been campaigning on behalf of the town to secure millions of pounds needed to repair "life-expired" corroded bearings on St Peter's Bridge, in Stapenhill, since January.
After securing the £6.1 million needed, it was announced on Thursday that the works will begin later this month, and will see the bridge closed until November.
Councillor Wileman has told the Burton Mail that the bridge would be "unviable" without the maintenance after 32 corroded bearings were uncovered - 29 more than previously thought.
He said he expected a strong reaction from residents as he knows the impact the works will have, but that they were "absolutely necessary".
Councillor Wileman said: "Back in 2010 highways engineers saw some sign of deterioration on the bearings of the bridge but it wasn’t under structural pressure, but over the last year it has become much more corroded with 32 life-expired bearings being uncovered.
"They are all along the bridge not just under the River Trent but also near to Tesco and all of them need replacing.
"When the bridge was built it wasn't waterproofed and it was coming through the deck which has caused the bearings to waste away so it is structurally unsafe. Now the carriageway joints also need to be replaced and the bridge needs to be waterproofed.
"Unfortunately, there is no way given the time frame and the job at hand that there could be anything other than a full closure. It is a short-term pain for local residents but it is unavoidable."
Councillor Wileman said a lack of investment into infrastructure in the past 20 years has led to this situation.
He said: "It feels like we have been let down on the design of the bridge. When it was built it was not' future proof' and that enabled this to happen."
Councillor Wileman, said he uses the bridge daily and was not surprised that the announcement for the three-month closures has caused upset.
He said: "The response is absolutely expected. When I heard the news I was equally as shocked because it is myself, friends, family and the people I represent that are going to be affected and as someone who uses the bridge daily this is not going to be something that people will welcome.
"Back in 2013 I remember part of Burton Bridge had to be resurfaced and the traffic does grind to a standstill, but it is something that is needed so the bridge can be used for the next 30 years.
"I think it is difficult to ease concerns because I can’t dress it up but it is absolutely necessary for the future and it must be done to deal with traffic for future decades."
Councillor Wileman said diversions are in place and delays are to be expected if we want to improve roads in the town.
He said: "Burton Bridge will be fully open for motorists and pedestrians, and the Ferry Bridge will be open for pedestrians and cyclists."