Workington celebrates bridge opening
Last updated at 10:49, Wednesday, 21 July 2010
A CARNIVAL atmosphere greeted the first vehicles over Workington’s new road bridge as residents celebrated the reuniting of the two sides of the town.
Crowds cheered as Cumbria County Council chairman Roger Bingham officially opened the new bridge over the River Derwent at 10.20am on Wednesday.
Coun Bingham praised the Cumbrian spirit and said: “The bridge divided the community physically but didn’t divide the people of Workington. It united them.
“The spirit of Cumbria was never more united and never better during the disaster as everybody worked together to achieve the aim of restoring Cumbria.
“Cumbria never closed down. Our ever open, hospitable heart remained open amidst a heartbreak.
“We were heartened by the contribution of so many people and organisations.”
It took contractors Morgan Est just 72 days to bridge the gap between the divided community, which was cut in two when the floods hit on November 19, causing the collapse of Northside Bridge and damaging Workington Bridge.
Since then residents living in Northside, Seaton and Barepot have been faced with hour-long detours to get from one side of the river to the other.
First across the bridge was Eddie Stobart truck Emma Louise followed by a Thomas Armstrong wagon.
Traffic was then allowed to flow freely across the bridge.
Louise Scott, of Siddick, attended the opening and summed up the mood of many in the town. She said: “It has been horrendous getting back and forward for school, work and shopping. The bridge will make it much quicker.”
Harry Dyke, chief executive of Allerdale council, said: “We have been looking forward for some time to having these communities reconnected.
“It is not only great for them but tremendous for the businesses that have been affected.
“It will help so many local people and hopefully it will mean people will start to visit Workington again.”
The county council is now focusing its attention on the other bridges that were damaged during the floods.
Officers will monitor traffic flow over Broughton Bridge over the next few days to assess the impact of the temporary road bridge and decide whether the one-way restriction can be lifted.
More detailed information about the replacement for Northside Bridge will be given next month, a council spokesman said, as the authority is still determining options.
A decision on the future of Workington Bridge is also expected imminently. Structural experts have examined the state of the grade two listed structure and have passed on their recommendations to the council.
A spokesman for the council said: “We have now finished our examination which has been analysed by a range of structural experts.
“It is most likely that we will be repairing the bridge. However, we are still going through the final approval stage.”
First published at 19:30, Thursday, 22 April 2010
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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