Elland Bridge which was devastated by the Boxing Day Floods and had to be demolished has finally re-opened to vehicles.
The Canal & River Trust and Calderdale Council worked on the project to rebuild the bridge and this morning the first vehicle made its away across the structure.
Hundreds of people gathered on the bridge to see Councillor Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, and Simon Bamford, director of asset delivery for the Canal & River Trust, declare the bridge open after cutting a ribbon, and the local Brooksbank School Sports College brass band played as the first vehicle drove over the newly rebuilt bridge.
Coun Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council said: “This is a hugely important day for Elland. The community has been incredibly resilient since the devastating floods, but we know that everyone has been eager to see the bridge fully open. Now that we’ve reached this major milestone the community can start to properly get back on its feet.
“The Council and the Canal & River Trust have worked extremely hard to reach this stage, as we know how important the bridge is for residents, businesses, commuters and tourism. The rebuilt bridge will be much stronger and more flood resilient, whilst preserving most of the original historic features, and it will serve the community well for many years to come.”
A minibus carried people from all parts of the Elland community, from businesspeople and community groups to school students and nursery children, as onlookers gathered to cheer them on. Elland C of E Junior and Infant School choir sang the song that they had written about Elland Bridge.
Simon Bamford, director of asset delivery for the Canal & River Trust, said: “We couldn’t be happier that the main road works have been completed and that local people can once again drive over Elland Bridge. This has been a complicated and challenging project but the local community have shown great patience and understanding and we’re very grateful for their support.
“With the road now open we’ll be focussing on completing the remaining works at canal level, building the new towpath underneath the bridge and repairing the canal bed which was damaged during the floods. The whole project is expected to be finished by March.”
The newly-rebuilt Elland Bridge re-opened to pedestrians and cyclists in mid-January after being out of action for more than a year.
However, construction workers suffered some setbacks which forced the Council and the Trust to delay the full re-opening by a month.
There have been complications with installing essential cables and pipes for utilities and the cold and wet temperatures caused problems laying waterproof material to the bridge.
The rebuilding of the bridge is being financed through the Department for Transport flood recovery fund.