MORE criticism has rained on nuisance roadworks with claims the £5.5 million plans will not make the area any more attractive.

Colchester’s High Steward Sir Bob Russell says huge concrete blocks and wire fencing have been an eyesore on the railway bridge near Ipswich Road for 17 years.

Sir Bob urged Essex County Council to remove the blocks and fencing on both sides of the bridge.

He said: “Not only does Colchester face almost two years of traffic chaos, we will not even get rid of the ugly eyesores which have been such a visual disgrace.

“Essex County Council is based in Chelmsford. This situation would not have happened there – indeed, a near identical eyesore on a railway bridge in Chelmsford was removed 13 years ago.”

The concrete blocks on Cowdray Bridge, over the railway line from Colchester to Clacton, were put there in 2001 as part of safety measures after a lorry crashed through a bridge and on to the railway tracks below near Lawford.

Sir Bob said: “If it was right for the eyesores to be removed from the bridge in Chelmsford, why not also from the bridge in Colchester particularly since our bridge is on a major traffic route whereas the one in Chelmsford carries far less traffic?

“The one consolation I thought would come from the appalling cost was that the eyesores would go but Colchester is not even going to get that.”

An Essex Highways spokesperson said the metal fencing cannot be taken down due to safety reasons.

He said: “Although we recently repaired weak or damaged parapets on the bridge, the structure remains largely as it was originally built when traffic was different and the risks much less.

“The parapet does not meet standards for pedestrian safety, being too low with the mainline railway beneath, which is why the metal fencing is there.

“The concrete parapet is not strong enough to resist the impact of a heavy vehicle at speed so the concrete blocks must remain until longer-term remedial work is possible.”