A new railway bridge has been moved into place across Brorough High Street during the Bank Holiday weekend.
The north end of Borough High Street was closed to traffic and pedestrians early on Saturday morning in preparation for a weekend of work to install the new bridge to the south of the existing railway line.
The new bridge, which was resting on the new Borough Market viaduct, began to be moved across the road late on Saturday night. Those arriving for the early Sunday service at Southwark Cathedral found the bridge still being very slowly manoeuvred into a planned position at a temporary height above the street.
The task of lowering the structure to meet the end of the viaduct was due to begin at 1pm on Sunday but with adjustments to be made this was delayed until 5.30am on Monday morning.
The movement was imperceptible as the west end of the structure came to rest on its pillars at around 1pm. Meanwhile the jacks at the east end were still required for a few more hours. By 5pm the process of clearing Borough High Street ready for traffic on Tuesday had begun.
As we reported last week, it will be at least five years until the first train crosses the new bridge, but the completion of the this part of the Thameslink Programme means that work on restoring Borough Market to normality can now get under way.
Network Rail bosses are hopeful that most of the work around the market will be finished in time for next summer's Olympic Games in London.
"The new Borough Viaduct will double the number of tracks coming out of the western end of London Bridge Station, unlocking a major bottleneck and allowing us to provide two dedicated tracks for Thameslink services," says Network Rail's project director Martin Jurkowski.
"It is a hugely important milestone in our plans to deliver modern stations, more trains and better journeys to and through the heart of London."
"A project of this scale taking place in such a heavily built-up area required outstanding planning and innovation. Our solution was to build the new bridge on top of the new viaduct, which offered best value for money and minimal disruption for passengers, road users and the community."
Mr Jurkowski added: "With the new bridge becoming a significant new local landmark we wanted to involve the community in its construction. We hosted hundreds of people over the weekend onboard a Routemaster bus which was positioned to provide a great view of the completion of this important milestone for the Thameslink Programme."
With the bridge now in place, the final part of the installation will be completed as planned over the weekend of Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May, during which time Borough High Street will be closed again. The same diversion routes will apply.
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