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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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New Workington bridge unfinished - four months after it opened

The Northside Bridge in Workington remains unfinished four months after it was declared open with much fanfare by Princess Anne.

Mark Jenkinson photo
Mark Jenkinson at the new bridge

The original bridge was swept away in the floods of 2009, cutting the town in half.

Its long-awaited £11.2 million replacement opened in record time on October 22.

But now Mark Jenkinson, of the Northside Community Centre’s committee, has hit out at county council “tardiness” amid claims the bridge was never properly completed.

Although the road bridge opened on October 22, three pedestrian exits from the bridge remain blocked off.

Mr Jenkinson, 31, of Milburn Street, said: “There are three pedestrian exists, one to the Reds’ ground [Borough Park], one on the opposite side of the road down to the rugby training pitch, and another that goes down to the main road so you can walk along by the river.

“All these councillors were keen to turn up when Princess Anne was here, and to shout about the money that’s been spent.

“Now they have had their moment in the limelight they don’t seem interested in finishing it.”

Mr Jenkinson, who has friends and family on the Northside estate, hoped to set up a residents’ group.

He said he had approached Jason Dixie from Cumbria County Council only to be told they were still waiting for materials. He has also raised the issue at a Northside Community Centre.

He said: “With Princess Anne coming there seemed to be a mad rush to get the contractors out by October 21. It now just seems to have been forgotten about.

“They are dragging their feet. They like to make a big splash but four months on these exits can’t be used.

“I would like to see them opened and everything finished.”

Doreen Murray, director of the Northside Community Centre, added: “I think they should do something to make it look completed instead of half a job.”

Some of the rails have fallen and over and Mr Jenkinson believes people are still using the exits despite the absence of handrails.

A county council spokeswoman said there was still some fabrication to be carried out by their contractors on the hand rails of the Northside Bridge pedestrian exits.

She added: “These works are programmed to be carried out towards the end of March. Until this work is completed it is essential we keep the exit closed to protect the travelling public. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and will do our upmost to ensure the works are completed as soon as possible.”

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