Work starts on bridge damaged by Storm Desmond
Work is now underway to repair a bridge badly damaged by the 2015 winter storms.
Dinckley Bridge, which carries a footpath across the River Ribble near Hurst Green, has been closed since being hit by flooding during storms Frank and Desmond.
The 1951 structure, unusual for being a pedestrian suspension bridge, suffered severe damage to the deck and the hangers which attach to the suspension cables.
The council unveiled a plan in March 2017 to replace the bridge and raise its height to mitigate against future flood damage, using £1.5m in funds from the Department for Transport. Work has since been ongoing to put the project out to tender, design and construct the bridge, and plan how to move in into place in what is a remote location with no road access.
The replacement bridge will be a lightweight curved steel truss, with the width increased to 2m to provide more passing space for walkers. There will be steps on the north bank and a ramp at the south to allow for the additional clearance below the bridge, which will be supported by stone-faced abutments.
Work has now begun to build a vehicle access route to the bridge so construction vehicles can access it, and the damaged old bridge will begin to be removed shortly.
The existing bridge supports will then be raised by 1.5m, with the new bridge due to be lifted into place using a mobile crane in September. Further work will then be needed to construct steps and a ramp up to the bridge and restore the access track. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2019.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The damage caused to Dinckley footbridge during the winter storms of 2015 left us with quite a headache as there was a lot of work to do simply to understand the options for repair and replacement, and how much each would cost.
"We decided that replacing the bridge would provide the best value for money, as the existing one was over 60 years old and would soon have needed considerable maintenance on top of the work to repair the flood damage.
"The storms of 2015 were not the first time the bridge had been damaged by flooding, and the new bridge will be raised above the height where it could reasonably be likely to be affected by flood waters in future.
"I'm very pleased that we've now begun work to replace Dinckley Bridge and restore access across the river for the many people who enjoy walking in this area.
"There will be some short term disruption while this work is ongoing, and I'm grateful to people living nearby for their patience while we bring in the materials to construct the access track, and the machinery needed to construct the bridge. I'm also grateful to the local landowners who have worked with us and allowed the access we need to do this work."