Calderdale Council and the Canal & River Trust, who are working together to rebuild flood-damaged Elland Bridge, have revised the expected reopening date due to complications with installing essential cables and pipes for utilities.
It is now anticipated that the new bridge should open in January 2017, although the Trust and the Council will continue to do everything they can to complete the works sooner.
Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said:
“Since Elland Bridge was completely destroyed by the Boxing Day floods, the Council and the Canal & River Trust have been working extremely hard toreopen the bridge as soon as possible for local people.
“We had always hoped that the new bridge would be open to traffic by the end of this year, and up until very recently we were confident that this would happen.
“However, the whole project is complex. Particular care is needed to move the utilities from the temporary bridge to the new one, and this has added a short period to the project timeline.
“I can reassure people that we’re in the final stages of the work to complete the bridge and are doing all we can to reopen it as quickly as possible.”
Graham Ramsden, project manager for the Canal & River Trust, said:
“Everyone on site has been working really hard and making great progress. However the bridge carried around 25 cables and pipes so redirecting them all back onto the new bridge was always likely to be one of the most challenging phases of the project.
“We are determined to reopen the bridge for local people as soon as possible and ask them to bear with us a little while longer while we overcome this final major hurdle.
“We’re really grateful for the community’s patience and understanding and we look forward to reopening their new bridge very soon.”
Elland’s 1811 bridge is being rebuilt, along with nearby Crowther Bridge, using £5.5 million from the Department for Transport flood recovery funding.
The Grade II listed Elland Bridge had to be completely dismantled when the sheer force of floodwater washed out its foundations on Boxing Day 2015, causing massive structural damage and a huge crack in the road. This was one of the most iconic images of the flooding in Calderdale, the worst hit borough in the UK.
Since then, key milestones have included:
- January 2016 – Calderdale Council secures government funding of £5.5 million to restore both Elland Bridge and nearby Crowther Bridge. This includes £500,000 for a temporary footbridge at Elland Bridge to reconnect the local community in Elland.
- February 2016 – a temporary bridge is installed by the Canal & River Trust and Calderdale Council to carry important utilities such as water, gas, electricity cables and telecoms.
- June 2016 – the foundations are laid for the new canal bridge.
- July 2016 – the Calder & Hebble Navigation running underneath the bridge is reopened to boats, reconnecting places such as Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge to the national waterway network.
- September 2016 – the arch of the new Elland Bridge is installed in seven sections, each weighing about 10 tonnes.
- November 2016 – nearly 1000 people attend an open day to learn more about the rebuild.
Once the utility cables and pipes have been installed in the new bridge, the final works in the project include completion of the parapets and masonry and development of the road and footpath over the bridge.
The temporary footbridge for pedestrians, which was installed in January 2016 and runs alongside Elland Bridge, is now closed to public access as the approach ramps are being removed to allow better access for engineers as they reconnect all of the utilities.
Pedestrians will instead use an alternative temporary structure above Elland Bridge, which follows the exact route that people will take when the new bridge opens. Like the previous temporary footbridge, the new temporary structure is suitable for disabled people, prams and cyclists (who are asked to dismount their bikes before crossing the bridge). The temporary bridge that has been in position since January 2016 is expected to be removed in early January 2017.