Specialist contractors will be abseiling from Jubilee Bridge in Barrow, starting next week, to inspect the underside of the bridge.
They will assess the condition of bridge girders and trusses as part of preparations for Phase 2 of the essential maintenance works programme on the bridge.
Cumbria County Council is investing £4.5m in the project to secure the future of Jubilee Bridge and ensure it is fit for purpose.
Phase 1 of the programme, involving repairs to the concrete under-carriage, re-waterproofing the bridge deck and resurfacing the road and footways, was completed in October 2018.
Now preparations are underway for the second and final phase of the works, which will involve steelwork repairs and painting over the full length of the bridge.
A key part of this preparatory work requires a full and thorough inspection of the underside of the bridge to identify any repairs required to the structure.
Traffic will flow as normal during this period and no disruption for bridge users is expected while the inspection takes place over the next two weeks.
Specialist ropes access contractors will be abseiling from the footway and climbing up from boats to get within touching distance of every piece of the historic structure for a detailed inspection.
Their findings will give Cumbria County Council’s engineering consultant and contractor time to prepare designs of any repairs required to the structure, and help ensure that the bridge continues to be a reliable link between Walney and Barrow for many years to come.
In addition, the inspectors will also be installing approximately 20 ‘dummy’ resin owls, to reduce the number of pigeons nesting on the bridge. This will help minimise disruption to both the contractor and the birds themselves when scaffolding is erected from April 2019 onwards.
The county council believes these dummy birds will provide the most effective way of preventing birds nesting. Alternative methods were ruled out as not being practical. For example, netting on the bridge would be costly and unlikely to withstand severe winds. Deploying a falconer is not permitted due to environmental designations protecting rare birds in the Channel.