SORT it out – that is the message being given to the company that built Poole’s trouble-hit Twin Sails Bridge.
The £21.6million structure has been beset with problems for months, forcing its opening to be delayed until April. Since then, a number of adjustments have been carried out.
But the glitches continue, with three more over last weekend, including one that led to the bridge being stuck in the down position and being closed to traffic for three and a half hours on Sunday afternoon.
Now there are signs that Poole council may be starting to run out of patience with Hochtief (UK) Construction, which built the world’s first triangular-leaf lifting bridge, designed by the team behind Gateshead’s iconic Millennium Bridge.
Jim Bright, strategic director for the Borough of Poole, admitted to the Echo: “We acknowledge the current level of performance of the scheduled lifts has yet to reach a standard which the council would consider acceptable in the long-term.
“Three operating faults linked to the bridge lifting mechanism were reported on consecutive days over the weekend which resulted in the closure of the Twin Sails Bridge to road traffic for a period of time to allow investigation by engineers.
“On each occasion the faults reported were relatively minor and the bridge was reopened as soon as possible. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience to motorists or mariners affected by the disruption.”
Mr Bright added: “The council’s contractor Hochtief (UK) Ltd continues to make progress to resolve a number of issues that have arisen since the Twin Sails Bridge opened to traffic in April.
“These include a few small defects in the road surface that will require some remedial work.
“The contractor is considering the cause of these defects and we are currently awaiting advice from Hochtief on any further action which may be required.
“The Twin Sails Bridge remains open to traffic and continues to operate in tandem with Poole Bridge, ensuring that at least one bridge is open to traffic for most of the time.”
Just after the Twin Sails Bridge opened, Swindon-based Hochtief boasted that its achievement in building the bridge highlighted modern engineering design and construction of which “the likes of Brunel and Telford would be proud.”
Under the terms of Hochtief’s contract, it is responsible for resolving any problems that arise for the first 12 months of the bridge being open.
Trev Lansley of Hamworthy said he and his wife had decided to sell their 120-year-old wooden sailing boat because of the problems with the bridge.
“It’s useless for boats. I’ve been held up three times, once coming in, once going out and once stuck between the bridges.”