We will be replacing the damaged Gawflat Swing Bridge in Skipton this May.
The bridge, which ‘swings’ open to allow boats to pass along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, and ‘closed’ to give residents access to Aireville Park, was damaged last year and became difficult to operate. As the bridge is part of a heavily used footpath which connects the town to the park, the leisure centre, Craven College and Skipton Academy, we are able to keep it working with the help of volunteers who have assisted boaters to open and close the bridge until repairs could be arranged.
The footpath over the bridge will be closed from Monday, May 10 for up to three weeks, when preparation work begins. The old bridge will be removed on Sunday, May 16, the new bridge installed on Sunday, May 23, and work completed by May 28.
Sean McGinley, our director for Yorkshire & North East, said: “We know this is an important pedestrian route for Skipton so we have tried to minimise the inconvenience as much as possible.
“We will need to close Carleton New Road on the sharp bend for two Sundays, which will allow a crane access to the site.
“We listened to feedback after first discovering the damage, and were pleased that through the support of our employees and local volunteers, we were able to keep the bridge operating.”
We have been in direct contact with the local authorities and received authorisation for the temporary road closure. We have also been liaising with key stakeholders affected by the closure, including the schools and college.
Although Carleton New Road will be closed from the train station end on Sundays May 16 and 23, Engine Shed Lane and Sandylands sport fields will still be accessible via Carleton Road.
The new bridge weighs around 20 tonnes and is constructed of steel. It has been designed to be easier to open by boaters than the current bridge, and will last for decades to come.
In total, the replacement will cost the Trust around £300,000. Sean added: “As a charity, we rely on volunteers and donations to keep our 2,000 miles of canals open and accessible to all. Anyone interested in supporting us can visit our website www.canalrivertrust.org.uk.”
Published: 11 March 2021