A new bridge in Burneside is set to open next week, reconnecting the community for the first time since it was closed to protect public safety in 2017. Construction work is now almost complete on the replacement Ford Bridge, which is scheduled to open for vehicles and pedestrians before the end of May.
Cumbria County Council has invested £1.5m in the project to replace the bridge, damaged by Storm Desmond in 2015 and subsequently closed in 2017 due to further deterioration of the bases beneath the bridge’s two supporting piers.
The county council managed the project as part of its £120m Infrastructure Recovery Programme, working with Eric Wright Civil Engineering Ltd who designed and constructed the new bridge.
A big celebration is being planned by the local community on Saturday 1 June to formally mark the reopening of the bridge.
The new structure is a 29m single span concrete beam bridge, with locally sourced stone-faced parapets. The bridge has been designed to be more resilient to future extreme weather events and will allow more water to flow under the bridge which will help reduce the overall impact of any future flood events.
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “The county council is delighted to be opening a replacement bridge which will reconnect the community in Burneside. A massive amount of time and effort has gone into the design, construction and delivery of this project and the new bridge looks fantastic and is really fit for purpose. The design team have worked very closely with the Environment Agency to ensure the new bridge strengthens flood resilience in the area. I fully appreciate the closure of the bridge has had a significant impact on the local community and I’d like to thank them for their patience and understanding during what’s been a difficult period.”
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Our Kendal Scheme project team have worked closely with Cumbria County Council’s Ford Bridge team to ensure that the bridge design is flood resilient and helps reduce flood risk, as part of our wider investment plans to deliver new flood defences in Kendal, Burneside, Staveley and Ings. We have and continue to work in partnership with the county council to ensure managing flood risk and the natural environment is a priority consideration in the design and construction of projects like Ford Bridge.”