[T]he latest design concept for the new Pooley Bridge was discussed with the local community at a meeting in Pooley Bridge last night (8 November).
At the meeting representatives from Knight Architects, who have developed the design, and from Cumbria County Council, who are leading the project, explained how the design had been arrived at and how the project would move forward.
The new design concept attempts to reflect the feedback from the recent public consultation on three different bridge designs. Inevitably feedback on those designs was wide ranging, with many people holding strong, and opposing, views. Given the diversity of views, the architect’s focused on common themes, including: lightness and transparency; being in keeping with the area; elegance; flood resilience; balance between modern and traditional; and open views.
The new draft design is a solid arched bridge with open spandrels, but with additional lattice detail in the spandrel void (see image links below). The new design also sits lower in the landscape than previous designs, while maintaining the increase height above the river. Stone would be used for the abutments and on the deck, including stone reclaimed from the original bridge wherever possible.
Cllr Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Fleet, said: “This is a such a high profile project and getting the right design was always going to be a challenge – it has to meet people’s aspirations for how it should look, as well as accommodating all the various constraints, not least the requirement for flood resilience. Given the passionate views I’ve no doubt this new design will prompt debate, but for me it’s an elegant and practical design that could work well.”
The new draft will now be subject to further refinement and development. The council is also committed to maintaining the high level of engagement with the local community that has been a feature of this project.
At the meeting the potential construction time for the new design was also discussed. It is anticipated that total construction time would be around 38 weeks. During this time there would be no bridge across the river.
Cllr Little added: “This is a major piece of civil engineering that’s intended to last. The reality is you can’t build something like this in a few weeks. We will be doing all that we can to reduce the construction time, but inevitably there will be a prolonged period when there is no river crossing. We know the impact this could have and we’ll be working hard to ensure there is signage and promotion to support the village’s ‘open for business’ message once construction starts.”
On the current timetable construction would start next year, with completion in 2019.