RAIL bosses insist heavy rainfall and flooding will not dampen plans to remove and replace Benfleet railway bridge.

Ambitious plans to tear down the 100-year-old bridge over Ferry Road between Christmas and New Year has caused traffic chaos over the last few weeks as one-lane was closed for engineers to carry out preliminary work.

However, motorists suffered hours of delays last weekend as police were forced to close Ferry Road entirely, ahead of schedule, after the highway became submerged in water following heavy downpours.

Bus services on and off Canvey also experienced severe delays due to the closure.

However, despite the road still being flooded on Monday, Network Rail claim the programme of work will not be delayed.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Police closed the road on Saturday a few days before we had planned because of the flooding, and it will remain closed until the works are completed.

“However, despite the rain we are still on schedule to start the works as normal on December 25. Obviously we cannot predict the weather, but so far it has not disrupted the works and hopefully this will continue and everything will be finished on time before January.”

Despite chaos on the roads, rail users have praised the company for making sure the disruptions to train services have been well advertised.

Robin Cotgrove tweeted the Echo: “c2c have done a fab job in their awareness of the trains they run.”

Replacement bus services will operate between Pitsea and Leigh, from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Eve.

Special services will also run from Canvey to Pitsea providing a faster connection to London-bound trains.

For more information, visit c2c-online.co.uk/travel_information/service_alterations/benfleet bridgerenewal