A PROJECT to strengthen a bridge in Alverstone has been delayed by two weeks, after vandals broke into the works site.

Island Roads is carrying out the scheme to strengthen Blackrock Bridge, on the Sandown to Newport cycleway, but vandalism and wet weather have caused delays.

The Blackrock scheme is the second of two being undertaken in this section of the network over the winter period. The first, to strengthen Halsey Bridge, overran due to wet weather, delaying the start of the Blackrock works.

Island Roads agreed with the Isle of Wight Council to undertake the two schemes consecutively, to avoid closing the cycleway.

Ian Hodson, Island Roads structures manager, said: "There is always a risk that working in the winter months when the cycleway is less busy can lead to weather-related delays.

“While the recent wet weather has caused some issues, and while there have been some additional technical issues to resolve, we have also been hampered by forced entry to the site and by a degree of vandalism.”

As a result, the scheduled finish date for the Blackrock scheme is now February 14, two weeks later than hoped.

UPDATE 10.54am: The cycle track has now been closed from the junction with Main Road, Alverstone, for around 1,413m in a westerly direction. 

A diversion has been put in place affecting Main Road, Alverstone Shute, Alverstone Road, Skinners Hill, Palmers Lane, High Street, The Shute and Langbridge.

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