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Interserve delays push back Dorset bridge scheme

Poole lifting bridge 3x2

An Interserve bridge repair scheme in Dorset, which is already six months behind schedule, still does not have an opening date because of safety testing delays.

Poole Council must wait for the go-ahead from Interserve before it can reopen the 1927 Poole Bridge, whose approach spans, supporting abutments and piles are being replaced. 

Although the council had hoped to reopen the bascule bridge in mid-January, no new opening date has been confirmed after “extremely disappointing” delays to safety testing and the installation of new vehicle and pedestrian gates.

Interserve had told the council that the bridge would reopen in December.

“This further delay is extremely disappointing given the prior assurances given by the contractor that the bridge would reopen on 15 December,” said Borough of Poole head of growth and infrastructure Julian McLaughlin.

“The council is doing everything within its power, and within the contract terms with Interserve, to reopen Poole Bridge as soon as possible.”

Originally the bridge was due to reopen to traffic in June last year. But extra construction work was needed after damage to steel beams which had been hidden by the approach spans became visible during construction.

Live utility cables were uncovered during the replacement of an abutment on the Hamworthy side of the bridge, as well as remains of past bridges, including old timber piles. The surprise extra works pushed the project back by more than six months.

An Interserve spokesperson said its project team had been working hard despite ongoing design changes and supply delays.

“We are confident that we will complete the Poole Bridge scheme and are working closely with the Borough of Poole to overcome challenges around commissioning of the bridge,” added the spokesperson.

The bridge repairs are part of a £23.3M investment by the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership for infrastructure in Poole.

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