Works to repair the damaged Seathwaite Bridge, near Duddon, have been completed and the road has reopened to all traffic.
Contractors for Cumbria County Council carried out the work beneath the bridge to remove the existing props and install a custom support system. Repairs were needed because the flood arch had deteriorated further in recent weeks and had a reduced load-bearing capacity.
A daytime road closure, together with a 3-tonne restriction on the bridge between 4pm and 9am, were required during the works to ensure they were completed safely and efficiently.
A robust temporary support system has been installed and the road has fully reopened. The bridge now has an increased capacity of 18 tonnes, which will allow an improved level of access to the farms and communities north of the bridge, without the need to use Hardknott or Wrynose Passes during the winter months.
The council has worked closely with the local farming community, feed and fuel merchants, school minibus service, the Parish Council and District Council, all of whom recognised the need to progress these works as a matter of urgency prior to the onset of winter and the likelihood of a permanent closure being necessary should the bridge have deteriorated further.
The council will continue to work with the local community during the development of the full strengthening scheme to 40 tonnes, due to be carried out in summer 2021.
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I’m delighted these vital works have been completed and the bridge has reopened to traffic. This is a key route for the local community and it was important to carry out these works ahead of the colder winter weather. The bridge repairs will also provide a strong foundation for the permanent strengthening works which are scheduled for next summer. I’d like to thank the local community and other partners for their patience and input in to these essential works.”