The piling, which should be completed by the end of this week, is intended to prevent any future scouring of the bridge foundations which contributed to its collapse during floods last Christmas.
Once the pier base is completed in early November, the arch rings to support construction will be put in place to enable the stone masons to start their building work.
“The piling work and creation of the pier base are some of the most difficult parts of this complex operation,” said County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways, “as much of the work is conducted below the water line.
“We are therefore dependent on river levels and as the river catchment is affected by weather across the county and water levels can rise rapidly during adverse weather, we have lost 14 days already.
“That’s why we have put our contractors on a 24 hour operation – in anticipation of worsening autumn and winter weather. We are working towards a completion date of the end of December and the pace of work so far means we are on target. We are working flat out to complete this bridge for the residents of Tadcaster as early as we possibly can.”
The stone for the pier and the arches has already been cut and the county council is now also beginning to strip the footpaths and road in preparation for the installation of the new gas main.
Most of the material from the upstream parapet will be reused when the parapet is repositioned for the bridge widening.
Tadcaster’s 18th century grade two listed bridge is being reconstructed and widened with £3m funding from the Government and £1.4m from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership.
“The reconstruction is a painstaking feat of engineering” said Cllr Metcalfe, “but we have the skills and commitment for the job and we are working 24 hours a day seven days a week to meet our targets so that Tadcaster can have a bridge to be proud of.”
Pictures show : Contractors are working round the clock on Tadcaster Bridge