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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Workington road bridge opening welcomed

West Cumbrians have welcomed news that Workington’s new temporary road bridge will be open in two weeks’ time.

Pat Hall photo
Pat Hall

The bridge will be open on April 21. Cumbria County Council had initially planned to open the bridge at the end of May, but contractors Morgan Est have finished work five weeks ahead of schedule.

It means for the first time the north and south of Workington will be linked by road since the collapse of Northside Bridge in November following the floods.

Locals said it will make their lives and travelling to work a lot easier.

Businesses in Workington town centre are also hoping that shoppers will return.

Pat Hall lives in Seaton and works at the Helena Thompson Museum in Workington.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted with the opening. Myself and half the staff here live on the other side of the bridge.

“While every effort has been made to support the museum the bridge has had an adverse effect. Once a decision on the bridge was made they were quick to build it. I travel into town by train or by road. An awful lot of our clients are elderly and live on the other side of the bridge. It has been difficult for them to travel by train.

“Normally it would be a five-minute trip into town, but when you are travelling 18 miles by car you have to make sure you do about three jobs in town before you go home. The bridge being up will make life a lot easier.”

Lynn McCullough, of McCullough electrical shop, Finkle Street, Workington, said: We are delighted. One thing that is worrying is the congestion that will be likely.

“But until the bridge is up and running no-one knows what it will be like. Since the bridge has been down it has affected business in town so hopefully it will bring people back.”

Resident Deri Franks said: “I think they have done really well to get it done this quickly. I am reserving judgement on what the traffic situation will be like. But Morgan Est has done a marvellous job. It will definitely help people to have that bridge up and running.”

The contractors are still completing essential surfacing on the approach roads, drainage, lighting, signage, the painting of road markings, fencing and finishing works before the road opening.

New traffic management plans will be introduced in town. Two public meetings will be held next week to discuss this.

They will be on Monday, April 12, at 7pm in Carnegie Theatre, Workington, and Tuesday, April 13, at 7pm, in St. Paul's Church, Seaton.

Jill Stannard, Cumbria County Council’s chief executive, said: “It’s excellent news for the people of Workington that the bridge is going to be open to traffic, cyclists and pedestrians more than a month ahead of schedule.

"People across west Cumbria have suffered from nearly five months of inconvenience and disruption to their usual routines since the devastating floods and we understand their frustrations and thank them for the way they’ve gone about dealing with it.”

Jag Paddam, Morgan Est’s Managing Director for Infrastructure Services, said: “Excellent progress has been made on building the bridge and we are pleased to announce that it will be open ahead of schedule.”

 

The remaining Northside Bridge will be demolished on April 17 and 18.

Workington bridge is more likely to be repaired than demolished.

Meanwhile, Navvies Bridge is unlikely to be repaired until late autumn or early winter.

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