Swing bridge upgrade begins

Coun Joe Plant, engineers John Smith and Andrew Wood, Glenn Smurthwaite, contracts manager of PBS Construction (North East) Ltd, and Ian Clarkson, PBS Construction joiner
Coun Joe Plant, engineers John Smith and Andrew Wood, Glenn Smurthwaite, contracts manager of PBS Construction (North East) Ltd, and Ian Clarkson, PBS Construction joiner

THE £250,000 upgrade of Whitby’s swing bridge will begin on Monday.

The bridge, which was built in 1909, will remain operational for the most part while the work, which is expected to last for ten weeks, is taking place.

County councillor Joe Plant said: “Whitby is rightly proud of its historic bridge and this upgrade will ensure the bridge remains in good condition into the future. The town is one of the country’s major centres of tourism and this wide-reaching programme of works, which the bridge upgrade will spearhead, will provide the transport infrastructure Whitby so rightly deserves.”

The renovation marks the beginning of a £4 million package of works, including a park and ride, which the designers hope will reduce congestion in the town and improve life for Whitby’s residents and tourists.

The swing bridge works will include replacement of the timber fenders and repairs to the timber ‘dolphins’ which protect the east and west piers of the bridge in the river. Footways will be created on the dolphins to enable the bridge to be maintained easier.

Breakdown of the bridge mechanism should be prevented by the waterproofing of electrical cabling and raising of electrical junction boxes on to the underside of the bridge, above the waterline.

There will also be new navigation lights and a re-painting of the entire bridge using its present scheme.

The maintenance work is a major element of a two-year project to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns on the bridge. Computerised technology has also been updated recently on the bridge in order for faults to be tracked and located precisely, to prevent failure and speed up repairs.

Weekly progress updates will be posted at the bridge and on the Bridges webpage of the North Yorkshire County Council’s website, www.northyorks.gov.uk