Work begins on Tadcaster footbridge one month after bridge collapse

Tadcaster Bridge
Tadcaster Bridge

Work will begin today on the temporary footbridge in Tadcaster following the collapse of the river Wharfe bridge last month.

On December 29, a large section of the bridge collapsed into the waterway following severe flooding in the area, leaving the town split in half.

Almost a month later, work has begun to construct a temporary footbridge to connect the town with completion expected in early February.

The temporary bridge will span from Selby District Council car park on the eastern side of Tadcaster across to Tadcaster Town Council land on the western side.

North Yorkshire County Council said its contractors will now work seven days a week, 12 hours a day in order to complete the task as quickly as possible.

Coun, Don Mackenzie, executive member for Highways, said: "The sooner we can get the town connected again the better for everybody concerned, residents, business and visitors.

"In the meantime, we will also get on with the painstaking work of reconstructing the main bridge. A listed 18th century bridge of this nature requires complex operations by our contractors and engineers, but again, we will endeavour to finish the work as soon as we can.

"We estimate the works will take about 12 months to complete."

Coun Mackenzie paid tribute to the community spirit shown in the town since the collapse of the bridge, highlighting Tadcaster Albion's help in finding a suitable location for the footbridge.

Humphrey Smith, owner of Sam Smith's brewery, refused to allow the temporary footway to be built on his land, labelling the £300,000 project a waste of money.

Tadcaster Albion stepped in to propose an alternative location with and generously allowed an access path to the bridge to lead through the football club's car park.

Contractors will also start work today on removing unsafe parts of the bridge and examining damage to the base of the pier in order to start work on its reconstruction.

Coun Mackenzie said: "We have been waiting for the river level to fall so that we could go in and safely carry out this work."