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10 May 2017

Staveley bridge opening - Thursday 18 May

A new bridge in Staveley will be officially opened at 1.15pm on Thursday 18 May, reconnecting the community for the first time since last winter’s devastating floods.

Cumbria County Council has invested approximately £500,000 in the project to replace Old Gowan Bridge, which was severely damaged beyond repair during Storm Desmond.

The county council managed the project and Thomas Armstrong was appointed as the contractor to design and construct the bridge.

The new structure has been designed to increase resilience by adopting a robust, mainly concrete, construction and by increasing the volume of water that can flow beneath the bridge than was the case previously. The bridge consists of a single span pre-stressed concrete beam deck made up of ten individual beams that were craned into position and placed on newly constructed piled abutments. These abutments comprised 56 piles driven to a depth of 10m and embedded in the existing bedrock.

The bridge parapets and abutments have been faced with stone - some from the original bridge structure - to ensure the structure’s appearance is in keeping with the surrounding area.

Stephen Hall, Cumbria County Council Assistant Director, Highways, Transport and Fleet, said: “The county council is delighted to be opening a replacement bridge which will reconnect Staveley. A huge amount of work has gone into the planning, design, construction and delivery of this project - over 8,000 worker hours in total - and the new bridge looks superb. The loss of Old Gowan Bridge during Storm Desmond has had a significant impact on the local community and I would like to thank people for their patience and understanding during this difficult period.”

David Brockbank, of Staveley Mill Yard, said: "We are really pleased the bridge is about to open, and very relieved that our village can get back to normal after Storm Desmond. We are very grateful to Cumbria County Council for working closely with us and to Thomas Armstrong and their contractors for working seven days a week to repair the bridge. We look forward to working hard to get our visitors back and show them what a wonderful, vibrant working community Staveley is.”

A day of celebrations is being organised by the local community to mark the official opening of the new road bridge on Thursday 18 May.

One of Staveley’s oldest and youngest residents will cut a ribbon to officially mark the opening of the bridge. Ken Dixon lives in the Abbey home, Staveley, and walked across the bridge every day to visit the Eagle and Child pub in the village. The community believes it would be appropriate for him to officially open the bridge, together with the youngest pupil at Staveley Primary School.

Shelly Barlow, who organises Staveley Carnival, has organised the bridge celebrations with the theme “500 ways to cross the bridge”. Stagecoach will be providing an open-top bus to cross the bridge with Burneside Brass Band playing on board. The celebrations will also involve vintage cars, and fire engines, with people from far and wide getting involved.

Timetable of celebrations:

  • 12:45 - Gather for Procession 

  • 13.00 - VIP and Ribbon Cutters gather

  • 13.15 - Brief speeches - Ribbon Cut and Bridge Opening

  • 13.20 -   13.35 - Procession to the Recreation field

Cumbria County Council is investing approximately £500,000 in the Staveley bridge replacement project, which forms part of the county council’s overall £120m infrastructure recovery programme to repair damage caused during last winter’s floods. A total of £45 million is being invested in 2016/17 alone to repair over 350 roads and bridges, including Gowan Old Bridge in Staveley.

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A new bridge in Staveley will be officially opened at 1.15pm on Thursday 18 May