Whitby Swing Bridge Malfunction Designed for ‘Age of Horse and Cart’ and Should Be Priority, Councilors Says

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Whitby Swing Bridge has experienced a number of issues in recent years

The bridge, on which many pedestrians rely, has been blocked several times in recent months.

In July, the bridge failed in the open position due to “technical problems”, the solution being to “lubricate it more often”.

It was closed to traffic on the evening of October 18 to allow engineers to investigate the cause of the recent problems, and several “wobble” tests were performed.

The bridge is crossed several thousand times a year.

Still, Whitby City Council said it had received no assurance from North Yorkshire County Council that issues with the bridge would be a priority.

At a council meeting on Oct. 19, County Councilor David Chance said highway officials cited “operator error” as the cause of the bridge’s malfunction during the summer months and early days. of autumn.

However, Whitby City Councilor Linda Wild said the county council had provided “no evidence” to support this claim.

“It is fallacious of them to try to blame the dedicated local bridge personnel and away from their own maintenance contractors and the lack of investment,” she said.

“The people who live in this city rely on the bridge. Each year, it is crossed thousands of times.

“When it breaks down, there is no practical alternative for pedestrians. We need a reliable and functional bridge.

Whitby Swing Bridge, which opened in 1909, was designed in the days of horses and carts and much of its technology and components date back 112 years.

This is not the first time that the old bridge has come under the pressure of modern life.

In July 2010, the mechanism stuck in the open position for more than a week following a gearbox failure.

The county council spent £ 25,000 on a plane from Italy to fix the defect and, the following year, imposed the current weight limit of 7.5 tonnes.

In 2013, an investment of £ 250,000 saw the installation of new navigation lights, a new paint job and improvements to the computerized technology of the bridge to ‘prevent breakdowns and speed up repairs’.

Following an extended outage in 2014, a county council spokesperson said: “The failure of the bridge mechanism is now much less likely, but the Whitby Swing Bridge is a mechanical bridge over 100 years old. years and so from time to time there will always be problems. “


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