Flood ravaged bridges to be removed from River Calder

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Work is underway by the Environment Agency to remove three iron footbridges which collapsed during the flooding from the River Calder in Sowerby Bridge.

Specialist equipment including a 150 tonne crane and underwater burning equipment will be used to remove the largest of the three footbridges which were all washed out during the exceptional rainfall seen in December 2015.

Two of the bridges are in the river bed close to their original location, but the third was washed 1km downstream by the flood waters.

All three were identified as a potential flood risk following inspections carried out by Environment Agency officers shortly after the flooding.

Louis Harvey, Environment Agency Asset Performance team leader said: “We are carrying out an extensive programme of work right across Yorkshire to inspect and repair defences damaged in the December floods. This work also includes identifying the potential for flood risks caused by structures such as these footbridges.

“The largest of the bridges will need to be split into sections whilst it’s still in the river channel as it’s too big for it to be lifted safely. Divers will use underwater burning equipment to split it up in situ and once these pieces are removed by crane from the river we’ll be able to cut it up further and remove it from site.”

One of the three bridges was washed out on December 13 with two further bridges going during the Boxing Day flooding.

Whilst two of the bridges can be removed by contractors working in the river channel, the third, which is a much larger structure, will need specialist equipment to cut and lift it from the river.

The removal work is expected to take up to two weeks to complete.