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Network Rail Bridge 174 spanning Blunts Hall Road, is an attractive design with pilasters either side of the four-ring semi-circular arch, curving wing walls, and stone coping. The span is 14ft 10in and it is built in red brick.

The extension of the Eastern Counties Railway from Brentwood to Colchester was not opened until 1843.

By 1841 contracts were let for the building of the railway to Witham including a ‘Witham Embankment: 40,000 cubic yards carried with 180,000 cubic yards to complete.  Considering all these works were carried out by hand, including all the excavations and embankments, it was truly a massive undertaking and a remarkable achievement.

The Braintree & Witham Times reported on 16th July 2015 “A road could be closed until next month while work is carried out on a crumbling railway bridge. Residents in Blunts Hall Road, Witham, have been sent a letter by Network Rail saying repairs might not be completed until August 7. It is thought that a ballast cleaner train, which lays new material under tracks, caused masonry to fall off the bridge on July 4”. The repairs took place and the bridge is safe again.

Sources: Peter Kay (Essex Railway Heritage Supplement); Braintree & Witham Times; Witham & Countryside Society

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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