Preston’s Old Tram Bridge is "not a viable option" say county leaders

Keith Iddon, cabinet member for Highways and Transport and deputy leader of Lancashire County Council in front of the old Tram Road Bridge in Avenham Park, Preston.
Keith Iddon, cabinet member for Highways and Transport and deputy leader of Lancashire County Council in front of the old Tram Road Bridge in Avenham Park, Preston.
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Repairing the Old Tram Bridge in Preston’s Avenham Park is not a viable option, according to bosses at Lancashire County Council.

The authority, which is responsible for highways in the county, says the main deck beams are “beyond repair”.

LCC also says that it has got to the bottom of who owns the bridge - revealing that the ownership rests with Preston City Council.

County coun Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "Having examined the Principal Bridge Inspection report further we believe that repairing the Old Tram Bridge is not a viable option.

"Unfortunately it is our opinion that the main deck beams are beyond repair and repairing the bridge piers would be uneconomic. Repairs to the bridge piers would also restrict options for a replacement deck.

"The current design also represents a maintenance liability as the bridge piers trap river-borne debris, and it is understood the Environment Agency would prefer a structure which avoids bridge supports within the river channel to minimise the risk of flooding.

"Our investigations have also found significant evidence to suggest that the bridge falls under the ownership of Preston City Council, showing the authority's Parks Department applied for funding in 1965 to rebuild the bridge.

"However we will continue to work with Preston City Council to look at options for the future of the bridge, including sourcing external funding for a new bridge, and managing its closure."

Councillor Robert Boswell, cabinet member for environment at Preston City Council said: “Our ownership of the structure of the Old Tram Bridge is only part of the story.

“As councillor Iddon and representatives of Lancashire County Council have acknowledged, there is an ongoing dialogue between the two councils about the condition of the bridge and the desire to maintain a public crossing of the Ribble.

“As the Highway Authority, LCC naturally have an interest and responsibility for any definitive public right of way on a bridge across the river.

“Currently the situation remains the same – we are awaiting outcomes from surveys and work being done to better understand the options moving forward.”