Pressure group launched to see old Tram Road Bridge in Avenham Park reopened
A cyclist has established a pressure group to make sure a key bridge in a popular Victorian city park is reopened.
The old Tram Road Bridge in Avenham Park was closed in February after concerns over safety were raised.
Lancashire County Council (LCC) shut the footbridge, popular with walkers and cyclists, saying it would be closed “indefinitely”.
Now Michael Nye, 62, a writer and keen cyclist, has set up the Friends of the Old Tramroad Bridge pressure group.
The Penwortham resident said: “There’s a lot of interest in what is an iconic structure.
“We want a date for it to be reopened. At the moment it’s closed indefinitely.
“I’ve set up a Facebook group to post pictures and maintain a bit of gentle pressure to keep the ball rolling.
“We have put a petition up to restore the river crossing.
“It’s got to be restored and repaired - if that means replacing it then replace it.
“If you can restore a bus station which was crumbling then you can restore the bridge.
“The Tram Road Bridge has a history spanning 200 years.
“The council don’t want to shut the bridge because they know that it’s sending the wrong message out. It’s part of the cycle route.
“Last time I saw it open there was a family letting off a balloon and following it with a drone.
“It’s got that fantastic history it’s morphed across the ages.
“I think its an elegant bridge. A lot of people love it.
“This is about Preston’s pride in the city.”
As well as calling for the bridge to have a concrete date to be reopened Michael has established a bridge watch, rather like a neighbourhood watch group, to report any vandalism - and ideally to prevent it.
“It’s closed so it’s sort of a derelict structure which will attract vandals,” he said
When LCC announced that the bridge was closed county coun Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The current bridge piers which are made of reinforced concrete date to the 1930s, and the pre-stressed concrete deck dates to the 1960s.
"These elements have reached a point where they need to be replaced."