New bridge opens in flood hit Workington

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The two sides of a town divided by the Cumbrian floods were reunited today, after a temporary road bridge was opened.

Workington has been split in two since the floods in November, and motorists faced an 18-mile detour to get from one side of the River Derwent to the other.

The new £4.6 million two-lane crossing, known as Jansen Bridge, was built five weeks ahead of schedule - in just 72 days - by contractor Morgan Est.

It replaces the Northside Bridge, which collapsed in November, killing Pc Bill Barker, who was directing motorists off the crossing.

An HGV from haulage company Eddie Stobart was the first to cross the bridge, and the company paid a donation to Workington Rotary Club for the privilege.

Jill Stannard, Cumbria County Council's chief executive, said: "To have condensed the procurement and construction of a bridge like this into such a short space of time is a tremendous achievement.

"We've worked with a range of different partners to get this bridge open as soon as humanly possible - and it has sometimes involved superhuman efforts and round-the-clock working."

A tree planted near the bridge was later blessed by the rector of Workington, Canon Bryan Rowe.

The plaque by the tree reads: "In loving memory of Pc Bill Barker, who gave his life in the line of duty November 2009."

Cumbria County Council said the replacement crossing would remain in place until a permanent bridge can be built.