[F]ollowing the emergency closure of Ford Bridge in Burneside Cumbria County Council has provided further detail of the damage and future actions.
The most recent inspection of Ford Bridge in August this year showed only minor scouring around the piers, but since then the river has experienced very high water levels. Consequently, a further visual inspection was undertaken which was followed by a detailed dive inspection. These identified significant deterioration of the bases beneath the two supporting piers. This necessitated the immediate closure of the bridge to all users.
Technical teams have visited the site and are in the process of determining what action can be taken to stop any further deterioration and prevent the remaining piers collapsing. Our dive team is now scheduled to enter the water on Thursday morning to carry out the required protection work. In parallel, the team is considering what work, if any, can be undertaken to allow the bridge to be reopened.
All options are being assessed to determine whether an alternative approach to repair is possible and cost effective, recognising that a full replacement of the current structure is still planned for Summer 2018.
Measures to ensure pedestrian safety in this area will be implemented as part of the traffic management work necessitated by this closure.
Further information will be issued once the options have been considered in detail.
Stephen Hall, Assistant Director Highways, Transport and Fleet, said: “We understand this is a real inconvenience for people living and working in the village. We’ve monitored this bridge closely and it was right that we closed it as soon as the risk to the public was identified. We now have to take stock and look at the options available. At this stage it impossible to say with certainty how long the bridge may be closed for, unfortunately it may be a prolonged period, but we will provide further information as soon as we know more.”