An historic footbridge, that was severely damaged during the December floods, could be replaced.
The distinctive Dinckley footbridge has been closed since Boxing Day last year when flood waters rose dramatically and the river raged, leaving the bridge bent and covered in debris.
Engineers for Lancashire County Council are now looking into the practicalities and cost of replacing part or all of the bridge which would reduce the risk of similar damage occurring again if serious flooding occurs in the future.
A spokesman for the county council said: “The damage caused to Dinckley suspension bridge during the winter storms has left us carefully needing to consider a numbr of complex issues and options to reach the best solution for its long term future.
“Severe damage has been caused to the deck and the hangers which attach to the suspension cables.
“We are currently looking into the practicalities and cost of replacing part or all of the bridge which would allow us to reduce the risk of similar damage occurring again if there is serious flooding in the future.
“However, no decisions have been taken as we need to fully evaluate the potential cost of replacing the bridge.”
Built in 1951 to replace the Dinckley ferry, the bridge runs over the River Ribble at Dinckley and Hurst Green and its closure has been a great loss for the many residents who used it regularly. The bridge was designed by the county council’s surveyor and bridgemaster James Drake and built at a cost of £2,500. Flooding destroyed its centre span in 1981 but cables and parts were salvaged and the deck re-built.
But the recent Christmas floods, which destroyed many homes and businesses in parts of the Ribble Valley, left Dinckley bridge almost beyond repair.
Work on the salvage project for the bridge will not begin until summer next year when lower water levels will allow better access.