WORK looks set to at long last start on painting and maintaining Warrington’s three eyesore swing bridges – with the first one timetabled for next summer, says Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid.
But Peel have confirmed the works will require the bridges to be fully closed, although they will work with the borough council to mitigate the impact of the closures.
Faisal recently met with Peel Ports Chief Executive Officer Mark Whitworth and Strategic Projects Director Gary Hodgson to discuss how soon work on the town’s three swing bridges would begin.
Faisal has been repeatedly pressing Peel Ports and Warrington Borough Council for action, most recently calling on them to work cooperatively to ensure work could begin as quickly as possible.
During their meeting, both Mark Whitworth and Gary Hodgson made it clear to Faisal that Peel Ports remained committed to carrying out the work on the three swing bridges and said that the delays had been caused by concerns on the possible disruption of the new Centre Park Link.
Mr Whitworth confirmed at the meeting that Peel Ports would be putting the work on the first bridge out to tender in September of this year. Work on the first bridge will then begin in summer 2020 (exact timings will be agreed with Warrington Borough Council). Work on the subsequent bridges will follow but timing will be dependent on other road schemes that need to be completed in the area, again timings will be agreed with the Council’s transport team, but the objective is to complete one bridge each year.
At the meeting, Peel Ports confirmed that during each period of works the bridge being painted and maintained would need to be fully closed. However, they also said that they would be working with the Council to mitigate the impact of the closures.
Faisal said: “I am pleased to hear that we finally now have a start date for the works. This issue has been going on for several years and the work is long overdue.
“The painting and maintenance of each of the swing bridges will make a big difference to these gateways into our town.
“Given the length of time we have had to wait for action, I appreciate that some people will remain sceptical until the work begins. But I want to reassure residents that I will be working hard to ensure that Peel Ports deliver on their commitment to Warrington South.
“I will also be working to ensure that Peel Ports and Warrington Borough Council work together to find suitable solutions to any disruption that could be caused by the bridge closures – mitigating any impact and ensuring that the work is carried out as quickly as possible.
“I will continue to pursue this issue until the work is completed. However, I am encouraged that both parties remain committed to delivering on these works and that there is an end in sight.”
Council leader Russ Bowden added: “We welcome this decision by Peel Ports as we have been working with Peel for the past two years on the clear timescales. We will work closely with Peel and other partners to ensure that the bridge enhancement project is completed efficiently and with minimum disruption.”
As well as being an eyesore the bridges have been causing consistent traffic chaos across the town in recent years, by jamming in the open position, especially during periods of warm weather.