Contractor Morgan Est this week started work on a £4.6M temporary road bridge across the River Derwent at Workington after winning the contract on Monday.
The bridge will reestablish a road link between the north and the south of the town after it lost two road bridges in the recent floods.
The contractor’s temporary offices had already begun arriving on site on Monday, while ground excavations for the bridge’s foundations are to start within days.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is funding the £4.6M temporary structure as well as providing additional emergency capital highway maintenance funding for one of two permanent replacements to be built in the next two years.
Cumbria County Council is hoping to fund work on the second with money from an insurance claim.
“The temporary Workington bridge is a vital part of the jigsaw we’re building to restore the transport infrastructure.”
The council fast tracked the schedule for letting the contract for the temporary bridge to ensure the town began its recovery after the floods hit and destroyed the town’s Northside bridge and left the Calva bridge condemned in November.
The new two-lane, 350t bridge will be a Jansen-manufactured bridge shipped in parts from Holland. These will be assembled on site to form the 67m long, 12m wide structure.
Capita Symonds has designed the bridge and commissioned vital borehole and investigative ground excavation work (NCE 21 January). It is hoped that the new bridge will be open to traffic by 28 May.
The first phase of work is to dig the foundations for the bridge and drive down the steel abutment piles which will house the concrete foundations.
The bridge itself will be assembled on site and then push-launched.
“We’re aiming to deliver [the two permanent bridges] within the next two years as well as [working on] plans to repair or replace the other damaged bridges in Allerdale and South Lakeland,” said Cumbria County Council leader Jim Buchanan.
“The temporary Workington bridge is a vital part of the jigsaw we’re building to restore the transport infrastructure in west Cumbria.”
Meanwhile, the DfT is also working with Cumbria to identify and cost damage to those of the county’s roads which would qualify for further emergency highway maintenance funding.