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Twin Sails to be put to the test as Poole Bridge to close for 10 days in April
ESSENTIAL maintenance work to Poole’s 86-year-old lifting bridge is forcing its closure for 10 days in April.
Replacement of worn parts and inspections of Poole Bridge will take place from Tuesday April 16 to April 25.
The bridge will be closed to traffic and pedestrians from 10.30am on the first day to midnight on the last, all day and all night, including the weekend of April 20-21.
However all scheduled lifts for boats will take place during the closure. The work will cost up to £70,000 and is coming out of Borough of Poole’s bridge maintenance fund.
With the Twin Sails Bridge up and running, for the first time there is no need for a pedestrian ferry to run from Hamworthy to Town Quay, as with previous closures.
The bridge was last closed during the daytime for resurfacing works in 2006.
Cllr Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for transportation at Borough of Poole, said: “The work will cost between £50,000-£70,000 depending on the condition of a number of components which can only be assessed as the work progresses.”
Dangerously rusted steel platforms attached to the side of the bridge, which support the traffic barrier motor/control boxes, will be removed.
The old flashing wig-wag lights and columns, which obstruct pedestrians, will be removed from the footpath and new lights installed on large platforms.
Worn nose bolts which lock the lifting spans together will be replaced and engineers will inspect and repair various mechanical problems in the lifting gears and motors.
A crushed moving barrier will be replaced and maintenance carried out on the other three at each tower. External floodlights will be repaired or replaced.
Other work will include refurbishing signs and vehicle impact damage to overhead gantries, replacing damaged sections of copper cladding on the towers and faulty electrical systems.
“We would like to thank residents for their patience while this work is carried out and hope to keep disruption to a minimum now that we have the second harbour crossing,” said Cllr Dion.
Fred Winwood, chairman of Hamside Residents' Association, said it would cause difficulties but added: “Unfortunately it is unavoidable, and quite frankly the people of Hamworthy are used to it now.”
But he said it would be a test for the second crossing, the history of problems with which was “a worry”.
He added: “Provided the Twin Sails Bridge performs we’re in no worse a situation than we were before, but if it doesn’t we’re going to have serious problems and people will be absolutely fed up of it.”
Lili Vandiver, manager of The Potters Arms, which is close to the old bridge on Blandford Road, said it was worrying news for her business.
“It will impact business – we’ve already gone through that will the roadworks on the water main which messed up business for 10 weeks.
“And it will impact me personally as I walk over that bridge – I will have to go twice as far now to do my banking.”
Cllr Fred Drane, Purbeck District councillor for Lytchett Minster and Upton East, said residents in his ward would be “very concerned”.
“With the Twin Sails Bridge giving up so many times there will be concerns it could go wrong again – we hope it doesn’t – but everything would back up and go through Upton.”
He added: “It will be a test for the bridge – but let’s hope it’s not a test for our patience.”