Work resumes on £5m Pooley Bridge project

Work to replace the crossing at Pooley Bridge in the Lake District will resume today after it was suspended in March due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Cumbria County Council has reviewed the project and says it can continue in line with Public Health England guidance.

The original bridge collapsed in December 2015 when severe flooding hit the county during Storm Desmond.

The new structure, which was set to open in June 2020, will be the first stainless steel road bridge of its kind in the country and will cost an estimated £5m.

It was scheduled to be craned into place in May, however the temporary halting of work means there is no set date for completion.

The bridge was destroyed during Storm Desmond in 2015. Credit: PA

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic is both a health and economic crisis. We are working with our main contractors to support local economic activity where it is safe to do so.

'The clear guidance from government means that some projects like the new Pooley Bridge project, can safely resume with necessary measures put in place by EWCE to protect the workforce and community.

"These are truly exceptional circumstances and we will be closely monitoring all construction activity to ensure government guidance is strictly followed. The health, safety and wellbeing of our residents, communities and contractor workforce are of paramount importance to us."

Credit: PA

Cumbria County Council says they are working closely with the contractors to work on other key construction projects to determine if they are also able to safely resume working.

Commenting on behalf of Eric Wright Civil Engineering, Managing Director Diane Bourne said: "The welfare and safety of our staff and contractors is of paramount importance.

"Working in partnership with Cumbria County Council, we have been following Public Health England's advice and following official guidance on safe Site Operating Procedures including social distancing and safe working, also reducing the number of people on site at any one time and resequencing activities where required to ensure the site team can work as safely as possible.

"We have introduced stringent health and safety measures across site, including undertaking a programme of rigorous daily cleaning, installation of new and additional wash facilities, safe distancing measures in welfare areas and staggered breaks.

"We are focusing on activities which can be undertaken safely and in line with government guidance."