Restoration work at Bennerley Viaduct is 'tantalisingly close' to completion
Major plans to reopen an iconic Awsworth viaduct after more than 50 years are now ‘tantalisingly close’ to completion.
Despite the struggles of the past 12 months, work on the western ramp at Bennerley Viaduct is almost complete and will provide access to the deck of the viaduct from the Erewash Canal.
The ramp is set to be completed in May before work begins on the all-important viewing deck.
Kieran Lee, community engagement officer at Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, said: “After more than 50 years of closure, we are now tantalisingly close to the viaduct being reopened and brought back into use.
"One of the final pieces of the jigsaw puzzle will be the installation of a 3.5-metre wide composite deck with viewing bays.
"We are indebted to the owners, Railway Paths Ltd and to all the funders who are making the dream to re-open the viaduct a reality.
"We do not wish to tempt fate but If all goes well, we remain hopeful for an autumn reopening. It is a remarkable achievement for all concerned.”
The disused railway viaduct, which is a Grade II listed structure dating back to 1877, straddles the Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire border near Awsworth.
The area is being transformed into a community asset and a major tourist attraction.
Since 2018, members of the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct (FoBV) have worked together with the viaduct owners Railway Paths Ltd (RPL) as part of the ‘Access to Heritage’ project, which aims to restore the structure, enable public access and create an inspirational green public space with the 'Iron Giant' as its stunning centrepiece.
In July 2019, planning consent was granted to bring the viaduct back into use as a walking and cycling trail and the project has so far had an investment of £1.4million from various backers including key funders, The Railway Heritage Trust, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.
Railway Heritage Trust executive director Andy Savage said: "We are delighted to see the project finally approaching completion, nearly four decades later.
"Our thanks to Railway Paths and The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct for sticking with this iconic structure through thick and thin.”