Dismay at state of Blackpool bridge repair

Highways chiefs have admitted they will have to return to do more work on Harrowside Bridge which re-opened last month after being closed since July last year.

Thursday, 8th March 2018, 11:24 am
Updated Thursday, 8th March 2018, 12:30 pm
Harrowside Bridge pictured just before it re-opened on February 2

Some residents have expressed dismay at the state of the road surface and the introduction of a weight restriction which means buses are too heavy to use the bridge.

Questions have also been raised about why the council did not act sooner after a report in 2015 warned of the risk of corrosion.

The bridge re-opened on February 2, seven weeks ahead of schedule.

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Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for highways, says there is still more work needed to be done.

He said: “To protect the current structure of the bridge for as long as possible it is necessary for the weight restriction to be in place.

“We are actively seeking funding to allow the bridge to be safeguarded for future years, as we know it would affect residents and businesses if it was to permanently close.

“I am aware that many comments have been made about the surface of the bridge and I agree.

“At the time we were restricted by the machinery that could be used on the bridge and also the desire to open it as soon as possible.

“Once Squires Gate Bridge has re-opened we will be re-visiting Harrowside to look at options for re-surfacing.”

He added regular inspections of the bridge had been carried out since problems were highlighted in the 2015 report.

Coun Jackson said: “In July 2017 an inspection showed the condition of the bridge had deteriorated much quicker than expected and it was necessary that urgent works were undertaken.”

Harrowside Bridge was not part of the original £11m programme to repair 10 bridges in Blackpool, funded by contributions from Blackpool Council, the Department for Transport and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Fund.

But an underspend in the programme freed up around £700,000 to carry out the emergency repairs it needed.

Full reconstruction of the bridge would cost in the region of £3.5m.

Coun Jackson said: “In an ideal situation we would like to see the entire bridge rebuilt like other bridges across the town, however we were unsuccessful in attracting external funding to allow this to happen.”