Troubled waters calmed as bridge re-opens

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A flood damaged footbridge, that provided a safe route for youngsters on their way to school, re-opened in time for the new term this week.

Councillors and residents launched a campaign calling for the Old Sols Bridge in Longworth Road, Whalley, to be re-opened as soon as possible when it was closed after the Boxing Day floods. Regularly used by Billington pupils as a route into school in Whalley there were fears that an accident may happen as the youngsters were being forced to use the busy main road through Whalley instead.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “The bridge was confirmed as being safe by the Bridges Team so all the barriers and notices have been removed and the bridge re-opened.

“The public footpath is now open for safe use and while the area looks a little untidy as would be expected after a flood the path is now safe to use. All the outstanding public rights of way condition reports on this path have been cleared and the team are satisfied that the surface is in acceptable condition for safe use.’’

The clean up operation involved removing sharp iron railings that had fallen onto the path, clearing away mounds of debris and also repairing the tarmac path which had been damaged by the flood water.

A £5m. repair programme has been announced for roads and bridges damaged in the Ribble Valley during the floods but only one location has made the top 10 list of priorities.

Dunsop Road in Whitewell is sixth in the list for repairs as drivers have been forced to take a 20 mile de-tour as it has been closed. Residents in Hurst Green are angry that the village bridge has not been made a priority for repair as they fear it is in danger of collapsing after being hit by a landslide after the floods.

Another location which failed to make the top 10 is the suspension bridge connecting Hurst Green and Dinckley.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said all the areas damaged by flooding would be looked at and repairs carried out and more cash would be available from the Department of Transport.