Network Rail Bridge 872, one of the Witham to Maldon branch line’s four 1847/48 cast iron girder bridges with jack arching. This bridge has suffered from having to carry the heavy A12 traffic until the Witham bypass opened in 1964. Drawings for supporting steelwork were prepared in 1941, but steel supports were not installed until after closure of this section of line in 1982. The red brickwork infilling in the outer face of the girders was not an original feature. The bridge has undergone heavy repairs in 2018 to strengthen the structure for continued use of heavy traffic. This has resulted in a concrete ‘tunnel’ under the bridge for pedestrians with a substantial reinforcement with concrete infill above, to strengthen the bridge.
This bridge has an Ordnance Survey Benchmark on the parapet.
In 1845 a managing committee was set up to consider constructing a railway to connect Maldon to Braintree via Witham. The line was originally intended to cross the ECR just north of Witham on the level but the promoting company was purchased by the Eastern Counties Railway who completed it as to two branches centring on Witham station in 1848. This branch was closed in 1964, but a short spur serviced Witham Industrial Estate until 1982, when the last of the track was lifted.
The Blackwater Rail Trail starts at this bridge and the Trail connects to Witham's Industrial Estate at this point.
Sources: Peter Kay (Essex Railway Heritage Supplement) ; Janet Gyford; Witham & Countryside Society.