County Hall’s £1.5m bridge investment

Crook O' Lune
Crook O' Lune
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A county councillor has said a £1.5m investment in the east pedestrian bridge at the Crook O’ Lune should secure its future for the next 25 years.

Lancashire County Council has decided to start work this spring to restore the listed bridge near Lancaster, which links Caton with the River Millennium Park.

It was originally closed for safety reasons in 2011 after an inspection unearthed problems with the structure, particularly with the timber beams underneath.

The bridge has since been reopened with a temporary deck supported by scaffolding above the old timber deck. It will now be closed until late summer.

County Coun Susie Charles, who represents Lancaster Rural East, said: “It’s wonderful news because the £1.5m will make sure the bridge is repaired and sustainable for at least 25 years.

“I think if it was going to be half of that amount it would have had to be repaired again in about five years, so this is really value for money.”

Lancashire County Council leader Geoff Driver decided to invest in a restoration, which will see timber replaced, ironwork repainted and masonry re-pointed.

He said: “The Crook O’ Lune is a beautiful and historic part of Lancashire and the East Bridge is an important part of the recreational site which attracts around 250,000 visitors a year.

“It’s therefore vital we continue to protect this listed structure and carry out the repairs needed to make sure it lasts for future generations.

“Even in these difficult financial times it is vital to preserve our heritage and I am delighted that we are able to invest what we estimate may cost up to £1.5m to fully restore this bridge.”

The bridge also carries the River Lune Cycleway, which is a popular route for cyclists, walkers and horse riders.

Nearby toilets and cafe facilities will be open as normal while work takes place.

A diversion will redirect people over the Caton Lune Bridge in Low Road, where a temporary walkway will allow them to cross alongside the traffic.

Footpaths underneath the bridge were diverted at the end of last year as a safety precaution, after a further inspection of the old wooden beams showed they had continued to deteriorate.

As a listed structure, planning permission is needed to carry out the work and an application has been submitted to Lancaster Council.

Lancashire County Council is also consulting with the Environment Agency and Natural England to ensure any impact upon the environment is minimised.

The county council will announce exactly when the closure will begin once the work has been scheduled.