a DATE has been set for Whitby’s historic swing bridge to be given a makeover to help accommodate the town’s thriving tourism industry.
As reported in Tuesday’s Whitby Gazette, the footways on the bridge – which links the east and west sides of town – will be widened to make it easier and safer for pedestrians at a cost of £40,000.
At the same time, some essential modification work to the bridge structure will be undertaken.
The operation will begin on Monday 7 March and is expected to last around two weeks.
County councillor Gareth Dadd, executive member for Highways, said: “The bridge is a central feature of the town and becomes heavily congested at times.
“As Whitby’s popularity as a tourist centre grows, so does the pressure on the town’s infrastructure.
“This essential work means the bridge will be much better able to accommodate the needs of highways users, particularly those on foot.”
County councillor Joe Plant, the divisional member for the area, added: “All too often, pedestrians have to walk onto the carriageway when crossing the bridge, which is dangerous for them and also causes disruption to vehicles.
“This work should do a great deal to help deal with the problem.”
The bridge will be closed to vehicles while the work is carried out, with diversion routes being signposted. Pedestrian access will be maintained, except when a total closure is unavoidable.
As currently scheduled, the bridge will be closed to all traffic – vehicles and pedestrians – on the first day of the work on 7 March and after that, will be open for pedestrians only.
For the day the bridge is closed to pedestrians, a free bus service will be provided to take people from one side of the river to the other via the New Bridge on the A171.
Coun Dadd added: “It is impossible to carry out this essential work without causing some inconvenience, for which we apologise.
“However, everything will be done to ensure that the disruption and inconvenience is kept to an absolute minimum and needless to say, we shall do everything in our power to complete the work as quickly as possible.”