North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for highways, Cllr James Tonkin, said: “The signing of this agreement is an important part of the process, to formalise our agreement with the MOD to replace this vital bridge.
“Winterstoke Road and Broadway are essential routes within Weston with many local businesses and communities relying on them to get to their premises and homes, as well as previously being the emergency diversion route for the M5.
“Our project teams are making great progress on the scheme and are looking to start working with a contractor on designs in the coming months.
“Given our commitment to more sustainable forms of transport, these designs will include improved pedestrian and cycling provision.”
The current bridge is in poor condition and is subject to a weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes. This was introduced in December 2018 due to safety concerns after an inspection found significant defects.
The bridge, which runs over the main Bristol to Taunton railway line, dates back to 1941. It was built to provide access to the military aeroplane factory during the Second World War, using emergency wartime powers.
Since then the condition has gradually worsened with ongoing repair no longer an option. Without replacement, further weight restrictions and full closure will be likely in the next five to 10 years.
The new bridge is set to open in 2023.