Major setback as Elland bridge opening delayed

Open day at the re-building Elland Bridge project
Open day at the re-building Elland Bridge project

Complications with installing essential cables and pipes for utilities has resulted in the opening of Elland bridge being delayed.

Calderdale Council and the Canal & River Trust, who are working together to rebuild flood-damaged Elland Bridge, have revised the expected reopening date.

It is now anticipated that the new bridge should open in January 2017, although the Trust and the Council will aim to complete the works sooner.

Leader of Calderdale Council Tim Swift, said: “Since Elland Bridge was completely destroyed by the Boxing Day floods, the Council and the Canal and River Trust have been working extremely hard to reopen the bridge as soon as possible for local people.

“We had always hoped that the new bridge would be open to traffic by the end of this year, and up until very recently we were confident that this would happen.

“However, the whole project is complex. Particular care is needed to move the utilities from the temporary bridge to the new one, and this has added a short period to the project timeline.

“I can reassure people that we’re in the final stages of the work to complete the bridge and are doing all we can to reopen it as quickly as possible.”

Elland’s 1811 bridge is being rebuilt, along with nearby Crowther Bridge, using £5.5 million from the Department for Transport flood recovery funding.

The Grade II listed Elland Bridge had to be completely dismantled when the sheer force of floodwater washed out its foundations on Boxing Day 2015, causing massive structural damage and a huge crack in the road. This was one of the most iconic images of the flooding in Calderdale, the worst hit borough in the UK.

Graham Ramsden, project manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Everyone on site has been working really hard and making great progress. However the bridge carried around 25 cables and pipes so redirecting them all back onto the new bridge was always likely to be one of the most challenging phases of the project.

“We are determined to reopen the bridge for local people as soon as possible and ask them to bear with us a little while longer while we overcome this final major hurdle.

“We’re really grateful for the community’s patience and understanding and we look forward to reopening their new bridge very soon.”

Once the utility cables and pipes have been installed in the new bridge, the final works in the project include completion of the parapets and masonry and development of the road and footpath over the bridge.