One of Lancaster’s major road bridges is scheduled to close for six months as part of a £4m programme of works.
Greyhound Bridge is set to close between September 2017 and March 2018 to allow Lancashire County Council to carry out extensive repair and replacement works on the 100-year-old structure.
The closure will have a major effect on the city’s transport network.
If funds are made available by the government to allow the work to be carried out, traffic travelling from Lancaster over the River Lune will be re-directed via Skerton Bridge, which will become two-way for the duration of the works.
David Hurford, bridges manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “We will be submitting a bid to the Department for Transport for funding to carry out extensive maintenance to Greyhound Bridge, but will only find out if we have been successful in early May.
“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 work would require the bridge to be closed for an extensive period, and we have been waiting until the Bay Gateway opened which will help to alleviate disruption by providing an alternative route to the Heysham peninsula.
“Whether the work goes ahead this year will depend entirely upon whether our funding bid is successful, but we need to plan in case it is accepted, and have begun to make plans for the work to take place.
“Our outline plan is to close Greyhound Bridge from September 2017 until March 2018 and remodel the road network in the city centre to allow two-way running on Skerton Bridge.
“We have recently written to various stakeholders to ask them to raise anything which we may need to consider while planning the work, and will let people know more if our funding bid is successful and we are able to carry out the scheme later this year.”
The total estimated cost of the works is around £4 million. The proposed work comprises replacement/renewal of a number of bridge-related features including:
l Concrete repairs
l Replacement of buried joints
l Replacement of expansion joints
l Replacement of parapet system
l Repainting of piers and superstructure
l Bridge joints
l Deck waterproofing
l Carriageway and footway resurfacing.
Major maintenance was carried out on the bridge in the 1990s but that was done with off-peak lane closures only.
The county council said that the work now required can’t be done that way as all the carriageway surfacing needs to be stripped off, and large areas of the concrete road deck that require repair need to be broken off.
The current structure was originally built around 1910 to carry the railway from Green Ayre to Morecambe.
This replaced an earlier wooden structure.
The railway was closed in the 1960s and in the early 1970s it was converted to a road bridge by casting a new concrete road deck onto the steel girders.
The old railway was at a lower level, running between the girders, but this wasn’t wide enough for the road.