Now that we have opened Seathwaite Bridge to vehicles up to 18t GVW, which should benefit communities over the coming winter months and springtime, we are now starting to focus our attention on the permanent strengthening to 40t, and local widening. This is due to take place next year.
Having spoken to some of the stakeholders, including the farming community and Outdoor Activity Centre, we know that there are a number of concerns that we need to consider so as to minimise disruption whilst the bridge is closed. It is most likely that works will take place between mid-July and early September, during the school summer holidays and whilst livestock is outside.
Over the coming weeks we will continue discussions with the Emergency Services about how they will manage emergency response during the closure, we will also discuss our proposals with the local Mountain Rescue Teams.
We are working with our contractor to see how works can be undertaken to reduce the time that the road will remain closed whilst the bridge is stripped back to the masonry arch and strengthening works undertaken. Consideration has been given to installing a temporary bridge however this would be a major undertaking, it would be very costly and would require a number of approvals that are likely to be more onerous than those required for the strengthening works and could potentially put the works at risk for next year.
We will try our best to reduce any negative impact on the area as a result of undertaking this work, however it is important that these works are undertaken now so as to provide unrestricted access to the area, for all, in the future.