Cumbrian road bridge reopens after £125k worth of concrete removed

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A historic Cumbrian road bridge has reopened after a National Highways error caused months of disruption.

The bridge in Great Musgrave, near Kirkby Stephen, rose to national fame when it was filled in with nearly £125,000 worth of concrete - only for it to need to all be taken back out again because it was done without planning permission.

The infilling of the Victorian railway bridge by National Highways has been described as an "act of cultural vandalism".

National Highways say they believed the use of concrete was a "valid solution" to improve safety, but a capacity assessment confirmed the bridge doesn't require a weight restriction and can carry all vehicles.

National Highways filled the 160-year-old bridge with nearly £125,000 worth of concrete. Credit: ITV

The 160-year-old bridge's closure caused access problems since July, as it meant road diversions which prohibited access to local shops and schools had to be put in place.

Councillor Phil Dew, Chair of the Upper Eden Railway Heritage Partnership, said: "This bridge has stood the test of time.

"Over 160 years over the Eden Valley Railway Line, but it used to run from Kirby Stephen through to Appleby.

"The line is no longer in existence, but the hope is that one day that line will be reinstated.

"To treat our heritage in that sort of way. With complete disregard for its value and appreciation of the architecture that went into it.

"I think that's a desecration. It's being called cultural vandalism and I think that it is."

The concrete that has been removed from the infrastructure has now been placed on nearby land by National Highways.

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