1800s bridge destroyed by Storm Desmond reopens after near £1m repairs

Repairs cost around £750,000 Credit: ITV Border

An historic bridge that was severely damaged during Storm Desmond has officially reopened after undergoing nearly £1 million worth of repairs.

Brougham Old Bridge near Penrith was originally built in 1811. It became so badly damaged during the 2015 storm that residents feared it would completely collapse.

Following extensive repairs, the English Heritage listed bridge was officially opened this morning by Cumbria County Council Chairman John Bell.

The first stage of works began in 2016 to secure the main structure of the bridge and make it safe for further works.

The final stage began in August this year, where the bridge's main arch was reconstructed and the bridge itself was given a more flood resilient structure.

The repairs were designed by Curtins engineers and delivered by local contractors Metcalfe’s of Penrith, while stonemasonry was carried out by local firm Cumbrian Stone.

Works were delivered on time and cost around £750,000.

Credit: ITV Border

The Head of Infrastructure Recovery at Cumbria County Council said:

Brougham has showcased fantastic local skill and workmanship and it’s a testament to the strength of the local Cumbrian supply chain that we could deliver this restoration project to such a high standard. The work here, and at other historic bridges in the county, has allowed our contractors to develop experience and hone skills that are giving their businesses a real advantage. We’re pleased that through our Infrastructure Recovery Programme we have been able to turn the damage caused by the floods into a positive opportunity to grow our local civil engineering sector.”

Nick Raymond, Head of Infrastructure Recovery & Major Programmes, Cumbria County Council

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport commented:

This has been a unique project. It’s very rare that this kind of work would be carried out on such a historic structure. We’ve been at pains to ensure that the work that’s been done is in keeping with the old bridge, but also to take the opportunity to improve and strengthen the bridge.

Councillor Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport