A Southend bridge linked to the deaths of two people in two years is set to close later this week.  

The Queensway footbridge has seen the deaths of 19-year-old Chris Nota in July 2020 and of another unidentified man in February of this year and prompted councillors to vow to close the bridge, scheduled to go ahead anyway as part of redevelopment, as soon as possible.

This will now happen on March 31 with the council sending letters to residents saying they should use the underpass near Sutton Road or the crossing next to Queensway surgery as alternative routes across the road.    

Councillor Martin Terry, responsible for public protection at Southend Council, acknowledged while these were not popular alternatives it was vital the bridge was removed as soon as possible.

Echo: Martin Terry said the council were happy to see the bridge closedMartin Terry said the council were happy to see the bridge closed

He said: “It’s been the source of a number of tragic events. The bridge itself has got stairs on it so its no good for disabled people to use either.

“It’s been suggested by the community that we remove it. The only question around the removal is that it was mentioned how people can safely traverse the road.

“What we don’t want is people to start crossing on that roundabout where the underpass is because that’s not light, there’s been a number of incidents there too.”

He added: “The deaths have added pressure to it let’s say. It’s been in our minds for quite a while. It’s not a nice bridge and we’re happy to see it go”

A replacement to the bridge will come in the form of the Queensway development which will see the road remain as a four-lane highway but have ground level crossings to be more pedestrian friendly.

The council and the Swan Housing Association, who are helping with the regeneration, have not selected a company to carry out the removal but confirmed residents would have to find a new way across for the time being.

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Neil Hoskins, head of civil engineering at the council, said: “The bridge cannot physically be removed until the project team has received the go-ahead from the Secretary of State but in the meantime, the council has invoked a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order which means the footbridge is no longer open as a public footbridge.

“I apologise to residents living on Queensway who might use the bridge to access town and be inconvenienced by its closure. Signs directing pedestrians to safe places to cross Queensway, will be going up from 31 March.”