Gowan Bridge: Latest News from Cumbria County Council (as at 7th March 2017)
We would have liked to have been in a position to provide you with information sooner regarding the delay to the opening of Gowan Bridge, however, discussions have been taking place with the contractor to ensure that we are providing accurate information to the community which is detailed below:
As you are aware, delivery of the replacement structure was originally planned for summer 2017. (AC: No, as far as the Parish Council was able to glean, the original intention was to START work on the bridge in Sep 2017) To mitigate disruption to the local community, the delivery programme was substantially accelerated which resulted in a targeted date of Easter 2017 for completion of the replacement structure. However, the accelerated delivery introduced several significant risks, both technical and legislative. Several of these risks have unfortunately resulted in an extended design and construction period which have impacted on the overall delivery programme.
Over the last week the piling contractors have now completed installing the piles to the north abutment, the contractor has been able to continue work over the last weekend in order to excavate out the material around the piles on this side of the bridge and will begin cutting down the piles to the correct level ready to construct the pile cap on this side of the bridge. On the opposite side, the works to construct the pile cap are now complete, the steel reinforcement has been fixed in place and rapid set concrete has been poured to form the foundation for the bridge. We are now waiting for the concrete to reach an acceptable strength before breaking out the remains of the old bridge foundation. To speed this up they have two crews working at once and will be working weekends. The concrete bridge beams are currently planned for delivery and placement on 4th April. The craning contractor will need at least 7 days’ notice to arrange delivery, but constant communication is ongoing to ensure that this is achieved.
It is now anticipated that the construction works will be completed on 16th May 2017 which is four weeks beyond the original targeted opening date of Easter 2017. That said, with weekend working and generally favourable weather conditions, it may prove possible to bring the completion date forward by up to a week.
A Drop In event is now planned for Mon, 20th March in the pavilion from 5.30pm to 7pm to view the final bridge design and plans.
Message posted by Arthur Capstick on behalf of Staveley with Ings Parish Council (9.3.17)
Message from Arthur Capstick (Chairman of Parish Council);
Following a meeting last week as indicated below, the following update is available about the work on Gowan Bridge. It is obviously very disappointing that the pre-Easter weekend target is likely now to be missed and I have made this point and this will be a real issue for some of our retailers. However, I have spoken with the Site Manager today who is now very positive about the progress so who knows, we may be able to claw back some of the time lost. Let’s hope so. It makes it even more important that we put on a big show and publicise that Staveley is open when it does actually happen. Plans are being prepared for this so I hope you are all up for it!
I will place this latest information on the PC notice board, the website and in the Beehive. Please let people in your own networks know too.
Gowan Bridge: Latest information on the replacement (from Gillian Holmes, CCC Community development Officer)
Nick Raymond, Cumbria County Council Senior Manager for the flood recovery programme met with members of the Staveley Stakeholder Group on 26 January 2017 to provide an update on the Gowan Bridge construction.
Due to the delay in starting the piling, as previously informed, we are currently looking at a bridge completion date of 20 April, 2017.
We will shortly provide a timeline for the various ongoing construction stages. We are informed that the piling work is due to finish in mid-February 2017.
Following the feedback received at the drop-in session in October 2016, it has been agreed that both sides of the bridge will be fully stone faced. The footway, however will remain on the side shown on the draft design and as originally sited on the old bridge prior to Storm Desmond. This decision follows the findings of the Road Safety Audit which showed a greater safety risk if it were moved to the other side. (A further Drop In session is to be organised shortly)
The application for the permit for the main structure has been submitted to the Environment Agency (EA) who have given their assurance that they will attempt to approve it within two weeks. If for some reason there is a delay in issuing it, the EA has confirmed that work to bridge will be able to continue so as not to cause any disruption to the overall construction works.
Gowan Terrace will remain closed, under a temporary road closure, until the bridge has been reopened in April 2017.
Gill Holmes, Community Development Officer for Cumbria County Council is to provide weekly updates going forward.
A drop-in session is to be organised in the next two weeks which will be publicised via the community board, posters and email. We will show the final bridge design which will also be made available electronically for those that cannot attend. We will also hold discussions around:
• possible permanent closure of Gowan Terrace
• the option for restrictions, formal or informal, for HGVs entering the village at the southern end
• bridge opening
We had a very successful meeting on August 3rd 2016 with Cumbria County Council.
The outcome is this:
1. CCC have apologised for the lack of communication and agreed to communicate with us on all issues going forward.
2. CCC are now in a position to beat the original timeline of Sept 2017, and they are totally confident the bridge will be completed by Easter 2017, but will do everything they can to have it finished even sooner, if possible.
3. The Ground Investigation team will start in 2 weeks.
4. CCC confirmed that they are appointing a Design and Build contractor within a matter of days and need to build a single span bridge to alleviate future flooding. The design needs to be similar to how it was before (without parapets to help flood water), in order that the project is not held up any longer.
5. They are going to work with us in partnership so we can add value to what the Council are doing, and work together to try to make this happen sooner.
Staveley Mill Yard email@example.com
Councillor Stan Collins
See clips from the North West News Story on Staveley here:
This link to the video will expire on 23/07/16 http://bbc.in/2a3bnko
Tiffany Solender from Staveley Mill Yard, who has been privately pushing for further progress on our bridge, has had the following correspondences from our MP and the Minister of State; Robert Goodwill.
It would appear that, from the government’s point of view, they have done all they can to expedite the recovery of the Old Gowan Bridge. They are firmly pointing the finger at Cumbria County Council who have been given the funding but who now need to prioritise. We can only hope that they consider our village’s need to be high enough to begin work soon. We thank Tiffany for all her efforts.
See copies of the letters below;
We have received encouraging correspondence from our MP regarding the bridge.
He agrees with our concerns about the lengthy delays to the repairs to the Old Gowan Bridge. He writes that he will make contact with The Army Corps of the Royal Engineers and Mechanical Engineers to see if they can present a creative approach to the problem. He also states that he will be writing to the Area Highways and Transport Manager to express his concerns about our village being split in two for such a long time.
See a copy of the letter below.
One of the businesses from the Mill Yard has acted as a representative for other businesses in the area and has emailed the authorities regarding our bridge closure asking for the Staveley Bridge to be prioritised.
Stan Collins has responded highlighting difficulties regarding the gas supply under the footbridge which they are trying to re-route as quickly as they can in order to address the repair of the bridge. Keith Little has encouraged that there is strong pressure from our local authorities to address the bridge.
Please see the correspondence below;
Dear Mr Young,
I am writing to you on behalf of Staveley businesses. Following the recent floods, the road bridge on the Main Street in Staveley has been severely damaged and is unsafe to walk across let alone drive. After recent inspection a new bridge is the most economic option. However, we have been informed that this is likely to take up to one year to rectify. This timescale is not a viable option for our businesses in the village. This will have a detrimental effect on the businesses and therefore our community.
The Mill Yard is located at the heart of this rare Lakeland village. Not only does Staveley have a thriving community, the Mill Yard alone employs over 400 employees through the 40 diverse businesses located on site. Since the bridge closure the village has been split. We urge you to prioritise Staveley and take immediate action to replace the bridge.
I look forward to hearing from you shortly.
Tiffany Solender – firstname.lastname@example.org
POGU – Protect What Matters
She has recieved the following responses:
One of the problems is that the gas main runs under the remains of the footbridge (alongside the Eagle and Child bridge) and these cannot be moved while the gas main is live. National Grid (gas) is working on a major project to reroute the gas main which will be done as soon as possible. I had been concerned that the remains of the footbridge could fall into the river and block its flow causing massive flooding; we now have the risk of fire to contend with as well because such a collapse would rupture the gas main.
I am keeping up to date with the latest developments and pressing for a permanent solution to be delivered at rapidly.
Upper Kent division
Hi Tiffany, thank you for your letter re the defective bridges we are well aware of the difficulty all of the bridge defects, closures are causing our communities and businesses. We are working hard to get decisions on repairs and or replacements and this will form part of our ask to the Government for funding. I can assure you that your locally elected members are continually reminding us of the difficulties faced in the community, we are a very large county with a great many difficulties as you will appreciate, we face further weather related issues in the next few days, which will inevitably cause further damage to our already fragile infrastructure. I will forward your letter onto the area team and ask for a response direct to yourself. I hope this is helpful.
Portfolio holder Highways & Transport