Plans are in place to build a new temporary road bridge to replace one of Cumbrias washed away bridges, just weeks after devastating floods hit the county.
Workington has not had any road access across the River Derwent, which splits the town in two, since the November floods destroyed the local Calva and Northside Bridges.
Capita Symonds has been working with Cumbria County Council since the floods hit to design and procure a temporary road bridge.
The rapid procurement process, which took just over eight weeks, has led to the appointment of contractor Morgan Est to build the new two-lane, 350-tonne bridge which will be paid for with up to £4.6 million of funding from the Department for Transport.
The 67-metre long, 12-metre wide structure, which is expected to be open by the end of May this year, will be shipped from Holland and parts of the UK to be assembled on site, around 200 metres east of the former Northside Bridge.
The first phase of work is to dig the foundations for the bridge and drive down the steel abutment piles which will house the concrete foundations. An estimated 500 tonnes of concrete will be needed for the project, with a further 900 tonnes of tarmac needed for the bridge surface and approach roads.
Capita Symonds has continued to develop the concept design during the procurement process. The aim is now to novate that design – and the design team – to the successful Contractor under a Design and Construct contract. The Contractor will co-locate in Capita Symonds Carlisle office in February to maximise the buildability of the design and minimise risk.
Transport Minister Sadiq Khan MP said: "Todays announcement is great news for the people of Workington. The construction of this bridge will be a vital step in reuniting the town and will make life easier for local residents and businesses alike. I am also delighted to be able to announce that the Government will be giving Cumbria £4.6 million to cover the material and construction costs of this bridge.
"The Government is committed to helping the people of Cumbria recover from the devastation caused by last years flooding and has already funded the Barker Crossing as well as providing additional rail services to provide vital links across the river at Workington. We have also supported Cumbria County Council in prioritising their recovery programme by paying for the cost of supplementary short-term project
management resources. We will continue to work with the council to identify what further funding is required to restore the areas critical infrastructure."
Cllr Jim Buchanan, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said: "We have been working on this project since the floods first hit – planning the best place to put the bridge, drawing up potential designs, surveying the geography of the area, working up traffic management plans and going through the tendering and procurement process. So today is a key day in that we have a contractor confirmed to do the work. In the meantime, we have also been working on plans for two permanent replacement road bridges in Workington, which we’re aiming to deliver within the next two years, as well as our plans to repair or replace the other damaged bridges in Allerdale and South Lakeland. The temporary Workington bridge is a vital part of the jigsaw we’re building to restore the transport infrastructure in west Cumbria."
David Knight, Director, Capita Symonds, said: Capita Symonds is delighted to have been able to assist Cumbria County Council in procuring a Contractor in a little over two months. To have done so, within current procurement rules, is a testament to the hard work of our team and a very positive response from the industry as a whole.