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Lancaster's Greyhound Bridge Refurb Gets Go Ahead

John Freeman


Lancashire County Council has secured £3.7m from the Department for Transport to refurbish Lancaster's Greyhound Bridge, as part of a £75m government investment in 19 highway improvement projects across the country.

Plans to refurbish the major road bridge, which mean it could be closed for up to  six months were announced earlier this year, but a final decision was deferred after the General Election was announced, which might have impacted funding.

The bridge repair work will begin in January 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in June, taking around 23 weeks. It's hoped that the now open Bay Gateway will alleviate some of the traffic disruption the closure will inevitably cause.

Greyhound Bridge on the A589 is a major transport link, and the bridge needs substantial maintenance to avoid the need for restrictions on the weight of vehicles it can carry. The funding will go towards improvements to ensure that HGVs and buses can continue to use the bridge, and help avoid serious disruption to the city's transport system.

County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "This is great news and a real boost for people who live and work in the Lancaster area.

"The Greyhound Bridge is a vital transport link for traffic traveling across the River Lune.

"We'll now be able to begin a complete refurbishment of the bridge, which will mean we don't have to place weight restrictions on it.

"Without this much-needed maintenance work, the only option would have been to to close the bridge to buses and lorries within the next two years and divert them through other areas of the city onto the Bay Gateway.

"This would create major disruption leading to longer journey times and increased pressure on other areas of the highway network.

"However the project will help us continue to improve traffic flows through Lancaster, and means we can achieve our aim of providing a transport network that supports the growth of the local economy and provision of skilled jobs and business opportunities in the area."

The total cost of the scheme will be £4.6m, with the county council providing additional funding of almost £1m for the project.

Before the repairs can begin, the road network in the city centre will be remodelled to allow two-way running of vehicles on Skerton Bridge - as a temporary measure while the improvements are made.

These changes, along with other preparations for the repair scheme, will be put in place between September and December 2017.

David Hurford, bridges manager for Lancashire County Council, said: "We have known for some time that Greyhound Bridge needs a lot of work in order to avoid the need to impose weight limits in coming years.

"The extensive work means we will have to put some diversions in place and make temporary changes to the road network, but we'll do all we can to keep disruption to a minimum.

"Detailed plans to prepare for this work have already been made, in case our bid was successful.

"We wanted to wait until the Bay Gateway opened before any work took place, as it will provide an alternative route, helping to reduce disruption while these repairs take place.

"We have consulted local businesses and residents about our proposed plans and will consider their responses when planning the changes to traffic management and the bridge repair work.

"We will provide more information nearer the time when the work is due to begin."

Now a road bridge, opened in 1972, Greyhound Bridge was originally built in 1911 as a railway bridge. It is curved in plan, and is supported by round iron piers. The first (wooden) railway bridge was completed in 1848, and replaced by a steel bridge in 1864. In turn, this was replaced by the existing bridge.

Photo: Humphrey Bolton - licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution