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Teston Bridge is being reopened

Teston Bridge reopened this afternoon after weeks of gruelling repair work.

The grade I listed span was damaged by drink driver Ben Emery in August and left with cracks of about 10ft in the parapet.

A fortnight later it was shut to traffic after investigators found vibrations from traffic put the walls in danger of collapsing into the River Medway. 

Teston Bridge. Picture: by Mike Mahoney
Teston Bridge. Picture: by Mike Mahoney

Steadline Limited was contracted by Kent County Council to carry out the £75,000 repairs over 12 weeks from in September. The county council has previously said works were delayed but their contractor maintains they completed the project early. 

Workers have painstakingly rebuilt damage sections of the 15th-century structure using historically accurate materials under the supervision of inspectors from Heritage England.

Damage caused to the bridge
Damage caused to the bridge

This included using the same hydrated lime mortar. A sample sent for analysis found the original was made from sand from a quarry in East Peckham. This no longer exists so colouring was used instead.

In addition, a diver was hired to retrieve stonework which had fallen into the river and where it couldn't be recovered, stone left over from repairs to East Farleigh Bridge was used instead.

Brian Daniel, Steadline’s contracts manager, said: "It is nice to be able to repair something of historical interest and we like to be able to leave people thinking 'that is a good job well done'.

"To finish early is always a bit of a bonus but we have been lucky with very good weather since we have started. There was a day we couldn't work."

Emery was banned from driving for 18 months, fined £560, and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £56 victim surcharge. He will also be required to complete a driver rehabilitation course.

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