HEAVY loads will continue to be restricted on Whitby’s swing bridge as North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) have announced the 7.5 tonne weight limit is to be made permanent.
NYCC has recently completed a full structural assessment and has concluded that the lower weight limit is essential to preserve the bridge for generations to come.
County councillor Joe Plant said: “I am confident that the new lowered weight limit will protect this historic structure and help prolong its life for many years to come.
“It is unfortunate that there has been disruption to some buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles, however the integrity of this Whitby landmark is paramount.”
County council officers are now contacting hauliers and bus and coach operators, such as the Whitby Tour Bus, to ensure that drivers are aware of the permanent restriction.
Gareth Dadd, NYCC’s executive member for highways and planning, said: “We have been extremely pleased with the response to the weight limit.
“It seems that the public is more than willing to accept the weight restriction in order to preserve this historic bridge in working order for future generations.”
Associated with this weight restriction, parking and loading restrictions comprising a box junction and related markings will remain in place around the junction of Church Street with Bridge Street.
NYCC is currently looking at whether an exemption for passenger service vehicles which weigh less than 7.5 tonnes unladen can be included in the Traffic Regulation Order, subject to the load with passengers not exceeding 10 per cent of the weigh limit.
A similar exemption applies on the old Cawood Bridge near Selby and there will be appropriate liaison with bus and coach operators in an effort to accommodate and passenger service vehicles on the “cusp” of the weight limit.
NYCC’s area highways team has already omitted the Swing Bridge from scheduled gritting, given the vehicle loading, whilst Fire & Rescue has also made contingency plans to avoid routing fire appliances over the structure.