1. ITV Report

Historic bridge rebuilt in Cumbria after £1.1m project

Newly structured Bell Bridge, Welton Photo: ITV Border

An historic bridge near Carlisle that was destroyed nearly two years ago following flooding, has been reopened today.

The 244-year-old Bell Bridge at Welton collapsed into the River Caldew after a number of storms and has been replaced at a cost of £1.1 million.

The new build now reconnects the communities of Sebergham and Welton.

The original structure was damaged during Storm Desmond and other storms, leading to its collapse during Storm Jonas in 2016.

The bridge has been made more resilient to future flooding, using as much of the original stone as possible to make sure the new structure blends in with the surrounding area.

The works also included temporary repairs to nearby Bell Lonning.

Bell Bridge's collapse following Storm Jonas Credit: ITV Border

Story Contracting Limited designed and constructed the new bridge, while the Cumbria County Council managed the project:

The county council is delighted to be able to reopen Bell Bridge following completion of a new bridge. A great deal of work has gone into the planning, design, construction and delivery of this project and we now have a first rate new bridge that will hopefully last another 200 years.

Today's reopening is another key milestone in our recovery programme to repair flood damaged bridges - to date 278 bridges have been repaired, or rebuilt like Bell Bridge, 264 are in progress and 242 are scheduled to begin work in the coming months."

– Councillor Keith Little, Cabinet member for Highways and Transport

The Head of Infrastructure Recovery & Major Programmes at Cumbria County Council commented:

Bell Bridge has again 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 replacement bridge 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