A solution has been agreed to repair an ancient flood-damaged bridge and re-establish a proper road connection to an isolated community of elderly residents.
The arched stone Gaskell Lane Bridge at Loftus has only been passable to pedestrians since a devastating storm two years ago washed tree trunks and debris down Loftus Beck into a blockage which undermined part of the bridge and caused flooding.
Northumbrian Water temporarily lined and strengthened a sewer pipe, serving Loftus and the surrounding area, which was slung underneath the bridge parapet to prevent any environmental impact and the bridge was closed to vehicles.
Finding a permanent solution has been complicated because the bridge was privately owned and experts from Redcar & Cleveland Council and Northumbrian Water investigated several possible solutions.
Now agreement has been reached for Redcar & Cleveland Council to repair the bridge and Northumbrian Water will install a small pumping station and new sewer pipes which will be fully incorporated in the structure of the rebuilt bridge.
The total cost of the work is expected to be in the region of £100,000 and Northumbrian Water has offered to meet two thirds of the cost. The council have obtained funding of £35,000 and will adopt future responsibility for the bridge.
It is hoped that work will begin later this autumn and that the scheme will be completed by early next year.
The road over the bridge links Rosecroft Lane to Gaskell Lane where there are six houses.
Since the bridge was declared pedestrian-only for safety reasons residents have had to rely on a temporary track diversion for their only vehicle access.
Richard Warneford, Northumbrian Water’s Wastewater Director, said: “This is great news for the residents who have had two years of worry and inconvenience while solutions to the problem were studied, planned and assessed.
“We now have a partnership solution which will see the bridge rebuilt and secured for the future. It will also protect our sewer pipes and the environment and help prevent future flooding in the area.”
Cllr Helen McLuckie, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “I am delighted that we have finally found a permanent solution to repair the bridge and re-establish a proper road connection for the residents of Gaskell Lane.
“We have worked closely with residents and local councillors since the closure and by working in partnership with Northumbrian Water and transferring responsibility of the bridge we have resolved the issue and ensured proper vehicle access for residents.”
For further media information contact:
Alistair Baker, PR & Media Manager, Northumbrian Water 0191 3016851 / 07711 793493
David Calderwood, Principal Communications Officer, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council 01642 444618