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Carnival atmosphere at Staveley bridge opening

L-R, Ken Dixon, Jasmine, Anita Partridge, CCC Chairman Cllr Geoff Cook, Cllr Stan Collins, Lenny, Charles Partridge
L-R, Ken Dixon, Jasmine, Anita Partridge, CCC Chairman Cllr Geoff Cook, Cllr Stan Collins, Lenny, Charles Partridge

There was a carnival atmosphere in Staveley, Cumbria, this afternoon as great weather and fantastic community spirit combined to make the opening of Britain’s newest bridge an occasion to remember.

A huge turnout of local people and school children cheered the cutting of the ribbon that marked the official opening of the bridge to traffic. There then followed a procession of the weird and the wonderful as local people paraded by, embracing the theme of “500 ways to cross a bridge”.

One of Staveley’s oldest residents had the honour of cutting a ribbon to officially mark the opening of the bridge. Ken Dixon lives in the Abbey home, Staveley, and walked across the bridge every day to visit the Eagle and Child pub in the village, even during the floods. He was ably supported some of the youngest in the village, Staveley School pupils Lenny and Jasmine.

Procession over new Staveley Bridge
Procession over new Staveley Bridge

Cumbria County Council has invested approximately £500,000 in the project to replace Old Gowan Bridge, which was severely damaged beyond repair during Storm Desmond.

The county council managed the project and Thomas Armstrong was appointed as the contractor to design and construct the bridge.

The new structure has been designed to increase resilience by adopting a robust, mainly concrete, construction and by increasing the volume of water that can flow beneath the bridge than was the case previously. The bridge consists of a single span pre-stressed concrete beam deck made up of ten individual beams that were craned into position and placed on newly constructed piled abutments. These abutments comprised 56 piles driven to a depth of 10m and embedded in the existing bedrock.

The bridge parapets and abutments have been faced with stone – some from the original bridge structure – to ensure the structure’s appearance is in keeping with the surrounding area.

Stephen Hall, Cumbria County Council Assistant Director, Highways, Transport and Fleet, said: “Today was a fantastic way to open this new bridge. Congratulations must go to the local community who have really gone to town and put on a show. A huge amount of work has gone into the planning, design, construction and delivery of this project – over 8,000 worker hours in total – and the new bridge looks superb. The loss of Old Gowan Bridge during Storm Desmond has had a significant impact on the local community and I would like to thank people for their patience and understanding during this difficult period.”

Cumbria County Council is investing approximately £500,000 in the Staveley bridge replacement project, which forms part of the county council’s overall £120m infrastructure recovery programme to repair damage caused during last winter’s floods. A total of £45 million is being invested in 2016/17 alone to repair over 350 roads and bridges, including Gowan Old Bridge in Staveley.

Procession 2Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, says, “The opening of this new bridge in Staveley gives local residents and businesses alike a renewed sense of optimism as we go forward into the summer holiday season. I am very proud of the continued resilience and determination of the local community to bring Staveley back to full strength and show visitors everything that this vibrant Lakeland village has to offer.”

Cumbria County Council has invested approximately £500,000 in the Staveley bridge replacement project, which forms part of the county council’s overall £120m infrastructure recovery programme to repair damage caused during the 2015 winter floods. A total of £45 million is being invested in 2016/17 to repair more than 350 roads and bridges, including Gowan Old Bridge in Staveley.

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