POOLE bridge will be closed again at the end of next month as motorists face more headaches and disruption.

The annual maintenance will take place less than two months after the most recent closure of the crossing, which was due to a fault with the pedestrian gates.

This was the most recent incident in a long saga of issues, which all began with the overrun of renovation scheme.

The next closure for annual maintenance work is less than 9 months after the major £4.7million refit project was completed.

The latest work focused on the operation of the lifting leaves means the bridge will be closed from 7am on Monday, September 24 until 7am on Monday, October 1. There will be no pedestrian access during the closure.

The works being carried out include:

  • Inspection, maintenance and replacement of gear boxes, drive motors and other main mechanical items

  • Replacement of nose bolts

  • Adding additional counter balance weights

  • Painting work to superstructure

A Borough of Poole spokesperson said: “We are committed to a two-bridge system and want to keep our lifting bridges operating efficiently and reliably in the long term.

“To achieve this we need to carry out planned maintenance to keep them operating smoothly. By closing Poole Bridge outside of peak times in the year we will be able to minimise disruption to residents who will always have one bridge available.

“We appreciate these works follow on from the recent refurbishment works which focused on replacing the 85 year-old approach spans that were worn out.

“The annual maintenance concentrates on the operation of the lifting leaves.”

The Daily Echo attempted to contact transportation portfolio holder Cllr Ian Potter yesterday, but he did not respond to calls.

After the annual maintenance of the bridge, the route would have been out of action for more than 19 weeks over the 12-month period concluding on October 1, 2018.

This is equivalent to two and half days a week, with more than 90 days of closures and additional overnight closures over a 365 day period.

Various glitches, faults and issues came to light during and after the renovation work.

Poole Quay Forum chairman Bill Constance said earlier this month it appeared that the things going wrong were “relatively minor”.

On the upcoming closure, Mr Constance said: “I have some sympathy as you have to do planned maintenance.

“I fully support they close it every year to make sure it is safe and does the job.

“I feel for the people who use it every day. They have had their lives affected for a long with with the bridge closures.”

Last month (July), the bridge was closed for two days after a problem was identified with tie rods on the walkways.

In April the bridge was closed for more than a week after a fault with one of its safety gates.

Poole Bridge officially reopened in January following 16 months of renovation work.

The project was more than six months over schedule, and its opening date had been pushed back seven months.

Engineers blamed the delays on tough working conditions, late delivery of parts, unchartered utility lines and unmapped remnants of previous bridges.