24 June

North Yorkshire County Council announced a short time ago that approval had been given for the repair of Wood Hall Bridge which connects East Keswick with Sicklinghall across the River Wharfe.

In an email to East Keswick Parish Council today, NYCC confirmed money was agreed and contractors were being mobilised and a start date would be confirmed soon. This was greeted as excellent news by the Parish Council which had lobbied hard for the repair to be made, enlisting the support of both neighbouring MPs.

The bridge is a substantial structure dating from 1868 and resembling a railway bridge though it only ever carried a bridalpath and footpath. It has been used by generations of walkers to stroll from Crabtree Lane Car Park to Sicklinghall and Wood Hall. It was severely damaged when floodwater carried tree trunks down stream and caused them to repeatedly strike one of the key supports which in turn caused the bridge decking to contort. NYCC, which has responsiblity for every alternate bridge crossing between West and North Yorkshire, closed the bridge as it was in danger of imminent sudden collapse. Some emergency work has been carried out around the foundations and divers sent down to assess the extent of the damage. The cost of repair is estimated at up to a quarter of a million pounds, well in excess of the entire annual budget for NYCC footpaths hence the decision for funding had to go to the highest level.

Full details of the progress of the repair and timetable for reopening will be announced on this website as soon as it becomes available.

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