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Maintenance work will begin this week on Whitby’s historic swing bridge to prepare for a £250,000 upgrade by North Yorkshire County Council.
Long-term maintenance for the bridge has become the responsibility of the county council.
Maintenance work is now carried out four times a year in a bid to reduce the likelihood of mechanical failure. However, as part of the maintenance work being carried out over the next two weeks, computerised technology that runs the bridge, built in 1909, is being updated so that faults can be tracked and located precisely in order to prevent failure and speed up repairs.
Contractors will install a new router and wireless equipment which will allow remote access so diagnostic checks can be carried out. This means that should the bridge fail in future, maintenance engineers will know immediately which spares will be needed and which need to be ordered to undertake repairs at speed.
The bridge will be closed to traffic overnight on both 19 and 20 September to keep the contractors safe while carrying out these duties. It will close at 21.30 and re-open at 06.00 on both nights although it will be open to pedestrians throughout the closures.
County Councillor Joe Plant, local member for Whitby said: “Whitby is rightly proud of its historic bridge and we therefore have a duty to keep it in good working order and to install the latest technologies to minimise mechanical failure.
“We are limiting bridge closures to night time to reduce disruption for people in the town and for through traffic. This work marks the beginning of a whole package of works designed to reduce congestion in the town and improve life for Whitby’s residents and its ever increasing numbers of tourists.”
The £250,000 upgrade of the bridge is then planned to start at the beginning of October. The upgrade will entail:
Repairs to the ‘dolphins’ which protect the east and west piers of the bridge in the river
Replacement of the timber fenders and the creation of footways on the dolphins which will enable the bridge to be maintained more easily
New navigation lights
Waterproofing of electric cabling and raising of electrical junction boxes on the underside of the bridge above the waterline to prevent breakdown of the bridge mechanisms
Re-painting of the entire bridge using its present colour scheme
The bridge will remain operational for the most part while the work, which is due to last for nine weeks, is taking place.
The swing bridge upgrade will spearhead Whitby’s landmark programme of works totalling almost £4 million including a new park and ride and improvements to the Esk Valley rights of way network, which will bring about the transformation of Whitby’s transport infrastructure.
County Councillor Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said: “Whitby is one of the country’s major centres of tourism and this wide-reaching programme of works, which is now about to begin, will provide the town with the transport infrastructure it so rightly deserves. “