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Highways England to lead Cumbria bridge rebuild

Cumbria floods
  • Highways England will start design and construction work to repair the A591
  • Body also to investigate what is required to restore Pooley Bridge and Eamont Bridge in Cumbria
  • Move will allow county council to focus on “other priorities”

Highways England has been drafted in to lead efforts to restore bridges washed away by storms Desmond and Eva.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is providing £40M of emergency funding to repair key local transport infrastructure in Cumbria and Lancashire.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has instructed Highways England to lead this work so that local authorities can focus resources on the immediate clean up effort.

Highways England will start design and construction work to repair the A591 and investigate what is required to restore Pooley Bridge and Eamont Bridge in Cumbria.

“We understand the difficulties of people trying to travel in an area hit by flooding and we are doing everything we can to help Cumbria,” said Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan.

“On behalf of Cumbria County Council we and our supply chain partners will be working to rebuild the damaged section of the A591 as soon as possible so it is safe for road users, and to investigate what we can do to repair the A6 Eamont Bridge and the B5320 Pooley Bridge; this will allow the council to concentrate on other priorities to help its residents.”

Highway England has already been assisting Cumbria with the assessment of the extent of flood damage to the local transport network.

It will now focus on three major engineering projects across Cumbria:

  • Rebuilding the crucial A591,  which runs north to south through the heart of the Lake District, so it can reopen as soon as possible
  • Investigate replacement options for Pooley Bridge, at the northern end of Ullswater, after it was swept away by flood water
  • Examine how the Eamont Bridge, near Penrith, can be rebuilt to be more resilient against future flooding

The DfT said the new funding is in addition to the £6.1bn the government has committed to local authorities across England to help maintain the condition of local roads, between now and 2021.

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