People who are eager to witness a milestone stage of the construction of a new road crossing over the River Eamont at the northern end of Ullswater are being urged to do so safely, from the comfort of their own homes.
Cumbria County Council has announced that the giant steel structure of the new bridge – to replace the structure washed-away by Storm Desmond in 2015 – will be lifted into position in early May, before the bridge is opened to traffic later in the year.
For ongoing concerns surrounding Coronavirus as well as practical safety reasons, members of the public from Pooley Bridge and across Cumbria are asked to enjoy the long-awaited spectacle by watching video footage online, rather than near the site itself.
A huge 1,200 tonne crane, which will be used during the operation, is expected to pique the interest of people who live nearby – all of whom have been inconvenienced by traffic diversions which have been in place for almost five years. However, all locations where the lifting of the structure could be viewed by onlookers will be closed-off to the public to minimise the risk posed by COVID-19.
With Police and marshals being deployed on-site, by staying at home curious residents will be both protecting themselves and Cumbria County Council’s contractors and can view a live stream of the work on the council’s social media channels.
Cumbria Tourism Chairman Jim Walker, says, “Residents and commuters are rightly excited about this stage of the development, having been inconvenienced for so many years due to the damage caused by Storm Desmond. So much work has been done behind the scenes in recent years, but this is the first time that people will be able to see that work really begin to become a reality. However, their excitement about this work really needs to be reflected by their common sense and they must stay away from the site to protect themselves and others.”
Miles MacInnes, Chair of Barton and Pooley Bridge Parish Council, adds, “It’s a major milestone, yes, but no milestone outweighs the importance of people’s lives. The bridge still won’t open to traffic for several weeks, and it would be terrible for such a significant development for local people to be overshadowed by further cases of Coronavirus in the Pooley Bridge area. Please, grab some popcorn and enjoy it online, not on-site.”
Further details of how and when people will be able to view the footage online will be released by Cumbria County Council in the coming days on their social media channels.