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Residents affected by Victoria Bridge closure deserve answers, says MP

MP Tim Farron has demanded answers from the council after a vital bridge in Kendal was forced to close for the second time in a month.

The rising river levels after severe weather weakened the foundations of Victoria Bridge in the centre of the town.

The council shut the crossing for pedestrians and vehicles for the first time in July.

After the structure was reopened, divers found more damage to the crossing's foundations ten days later and it has since been closed.

Mr Farron wrote to the council asking what measures are being taken to reassure local residents and businesses.

“While it’s difficult to blame the council for the amount of rain we’ve had in recent weeks, this is the Lake District and wet summers aren’t unusual. Many residents and businesses have contacted me wanting more certainty about the prospects are for the coming weeks.”

– Tim Farron, MP
Divers assess the structure. Credit: ITV Border

Tim has asked Cumbria County Council:

  • What risk assessments were undertaken which gave the council confidence to initially proceed with work despite the hazard of inclement weather and rising river levels?
  • What risk assessments were undertaken to determine the effect of a potential closure on traffic flow?
  • Why were no diversionary routes (like making Stramongate Bridge two way) seemingly planned in advance?
  • Given the council appears to be proceeding with the same temporary fix as was applied two weeks ago, what will stop a future third closure when water levels rise again?
  • What is the council's long-term plan to ensure the permanent fix can be applied?

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Divers placed three tonnes of grout bags near the affected area to try and stabilise the foundations on 21 August.

The council says they are unsure when the major repair work will be completed and how long it will take to reopen the the bridge.

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