A COMPLETION date is still not in sight for the repairs to a bridge in the Borders that has been closed to certain vehicles for months.

The Esk Bridge, in Longtown, has been closed to lorries for several months after a section of the bridge collapsed last year. 

It reopened to cars and pedestrians earlier this year but lockdown restrictions have meant that the final stage of repairs cannot be completed.

A spokesperson for Cumbria County Council said: “Works to complete the repair of Esk Bridge in Longtown have been delayed due to the recent lockdown restrictions and their effect on the capacity of contractors and their teams.

“There is also a light column on the bridge which needs to be disconnected by Electricity North West, and we are working with them to confirm a date for this as soon as possible.

“We cannot currently give a confirmed date for the repairs to be completed, but will continue to post updates via social media.”

The bridge is a major road in and out of the town which connects this part of the Borders to Scotland and is used by many haulage firms.

HGVs have since been diverted on the M6.

It has caused a lot of frustration for local business owners and residents who believe it should never have taken this long to fix.

“There’s no need to be shut to HGVs now, and it should have and could have been corrected in a fortnight with both sides done,” said Rob Little.

Luke Patterson commented: “This affects bus routes, commuting and obtaining everyday essentials which is hard enough in the current Covid climate.”

The Esk Bridge was briefly shut to all road users in March for scaffolding to be put up so repairs to the damaged parapet could take place.

The work that is still left to complete is the replacement of the electrical supply to the lighting unit on the bridge and the provision of a bolt system to strengthen the retaining wall on the east side of the bridge.

Once this work has been completed, it is hoped that the bridge will be able to fully re-open for all vehicles.