A BRIDGE over the River Darwen is to be removed and replaced by a reinforced culvert if plans are given the go-ahead.

The proposal, at Cross Street near to Carr Road, also includes straightening of the river and a temporary access road connecting St John’s Street with Ashton Road.

Blackburn with Darwen Council roads chiefs have submitted the plans, which will lead to a temporary road closure between Cross Street and Carr Road.

The project is expected to cost £200,000 and work is planned for next March.

In documents submitted with the proposal, a council spokesman said: “Cross Street bridge, at the location where the River Darwen passes under the road, is currently in sub-standard condition and in need of essential structural strengthening works.

“In order for the highway authority to undertake these works, it is necessary to replace the whole existing bridge structure with a new reinforced concrete box culvert.

“Rather than follow the existing sinuous route of the River Darwen as it flows under Cross Street, it is proposed to straighten the river’s alignment.”

The new culvert and straightening of the river will also reduce flood risk, say council chiefs.

While the work is carried out, a road will connect Ashton Road and St John’s Street, where the only alternative access road goes over a weak bridge with a 7.5-tonne weight limit.

The council spokesman added: “In order to ensure that emergency and refuse vehicles have access to the Carr Road estate during the construction works, a temporary access road is proposed.

“It is anticipated the temporary access road will be required for no more than 12 weeks.”

Marsh House councillor John Roberts said: “This application will deal with a long-standing problem of a dilapidated culvert and bridge in Cross Street and has been needed for some time.

“Clearly there may be some traffic disruption but if it means we can get this work done, it will be beneficial and is welcomed.”