Engineers are installing a temporary Bailey bridge to re-open a vital rural County Durham river crossing.
Deerness Bridge was closed on 13 April after a scheduled inspection and subsequent detailed structural review raised concerns that it could no longer withstand the weight of traffic.
Work on a solution began immediately and, on Thursday May 26, a large crane was used to lift a two-part, pre-fabricated lattice steel structure into place above the existing road.
Brian Buckley, Durham County Council’s strategic highways manager, said: “We are pleased to be able to secure this temporary solution to enable us to re-open this vital rural link between Ushaw Moor and New Brancepeth.
“We once again thank the local residents and regular users of the road for their patience.”
With the structure in place, the council’s highways staff are building up the approaches to the new bridge, installing signs and traffic lights, and looking to reopen the crossing on Friday 3 June.
When that happens, the bridge will have an 18 tonne weight limit and there will be a signed diversion route for heavier vehicles and abnormal loads.
Vehicle activated traffic lights will change automatically depending on the traffic flows.
There will be a separated footpath across the bridge for pedestrians, cyclists and horses.
A 7.5 tonne weight limit will remain on Broadgate Road, however, the road will be re-opened to two way traffic.
It will be monitored and, if necessary for road safety reasons, we will reconsider the need for restrictions.
The cost of installing the Bailey Bridge was £6,875 which included crane hire and labour. It is then costing £690 a week to hire the bridge.