Engineers are reaching an important milestone in the rebuilding of Elland Bridge as they lay the foundations for the new canal bridge.
This week contractors are laying the concrete that will form the foundations of the new bridge.
It comes after the original Grade II listed bridge, built in 1811, was carefully dismantled after the force of the floodwaters washed out its foundations and undermined the road above. The bridge has been taken apart bit by bit with the stone being catalogued and stored so that it can be reused on the replacement bridge.
In recent weeks engineers have put temporary dams either side of the bridge to create a dry working area and have installed metal sheet piling which will strengthen the new foundations. Once the concrete has been poured and the foundations completed the canal running under the bridge can be reopened to boats.
The canal is expected to reopen on Monday 4 July and will reinstate an important link between the Rochdale Canal and the rest of the waterway network. Boaters will once more be able to head to Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge to use the businesses and services there.
Graham Ramsden, project manager for the Canal & River Trust, said; “Works are going really well at Elland Bridge and the current works are a symbolic moment; laying the foundations from which the new bridge will start to take shape.
“In a few weeks we’ll be able to reopen the canal to boats which will help to get life back to normal on our waterways. It will reinstate an important link for boaters and give a real boost to local businesses and hire boat bases.”
Cllr Barry Collins, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development at Calderdale Council said: “I’m delighted that the canal is so close to re-opening and I know this is an important milestone for Elland. The bridge has great strategic importance to the local community, for local businesses and for tourism and is a vital part of our recovery.”
In parallel with the works at Elland the Trust has also been working to rebuild nearby Crowther Bridge which is owned by Calderdale Council. The bridge has been demolished with the stone being taken away to be reused on the replacement.
The Government has pledged up to £5m for the replacement of the two bridges and it’s anticipated that both will be built and available for use before the end of the year. A temporary footbridge next to Elland Bridge which was constructed in January will remain in place throughout the works.