Great regret: Flower festival hits A3 roadblock


National Highways’ huge scheme at Junction 10 of the M25 has again impacted the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) flagship garden nearby, leading to the cancellation of a major event.

It follows the revelation that the organisation cut capacity at its annual Wisley Flower Show because of the impact of the M25 scheme on traffic.

The ‘delicate and challenging’ operation to lift giant beams into place on a bridge across the A3 in Surrey is set to take place this weekend, with a full closure of the strategic road from 9pm on Friday (13 October) until 6am on Monday.

Laura Booty, head of RHS Wisley, said: 'It is with great regret we have had to cancel the Festival of Flavours at RHS Wisley. The festival had been due to take place from Wednesday, October 11 to Sunday, October 15.

‘However, due to the A3 now being closed on October 14 and 15 as part of the ongoing roadworks, RHS Wisley will need to close that weekend, meaning that, sadly, Festival of Flavours must be cancelled. We appreciate how disappointed everyone is with this decision, which is beyond our control.

‘We sincerely apologise to everyone for all the inconvenience. A lot of hard work had gone into this event, which was a huge success last year and was on course to be as good, if not better, this year.'

National Highways said a specialist 750-tonne crane will lift 10 beams weighing 80 tonnes each into place to support the new road deck on the Wisley Lane flyover.

Senior project manager Jonathan Wade said: ‘The upcoming bridge beam lift is another significant milestone for this transformative scheme. The beams measure 33 metres in length, around the same as three double decker buses, and lifting them into place is a remarkable engineering feat by a highly skilled team of specialists.’

National Highways’ £317m M25 Junction 10 upgrade will include eight new bridges, five of which will be replacing the existing old bridges.

One of these is the Wisley Lane footbridge over the A3, which currently has pedestrian access only. It will make way for an upgraded two-span bridge, approximately 69 metres in length, which National Highways said will provide safer access onto Wisley Lane and RHS Wisley from the A3, including include a dedicated route for pedestrians, horses and cyclists.

Balfour Beatty Atkins project director Howard Williams said: ‘The bridge beam lift is the culmination of many months of collaborative planning by the Balfour Beatty Atkins and National Highways integrated team. We are excited to be able to showcase the progression that is being made on the project with the delivery of this key milestone.’

The A3 will be closed northbound from the B2215/A247 exit at Ripley to Junction 10 of the M25 and closed southbound from the M25 the A247 at Burntcommon.

Drivers coming from or joining the M25 will be diverted to or from Junction 9 on local roads to the east of Leatherhead, while non-motorway traffic will be sent on an even longer diversion via Hook in the London Borough of Kingston.

National Highways said that ULEZ restrictions will not apply to drivers using its official diversion.

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