POOLE’S Twin Sails Bridge will be closed for two weeks while engineers investigate a fault that has seen the crossing shut on and off since November last year.

The bridge was back in operation near the start of January, albeit on a reduced lifting schedule, after repairs to a faulty electronic sensor were carried out.

However, an ongoing problem on the Hamworthy side still needs to be fixed. Until the council can figure out exactly what the issue is, there is no timeframe for when the repair work will be completed.

Specialists were due to visit at the end of January to help council engineers work out how to extract a half-tonne pin from the rod end assembly, which forms part of the lifting mechanism

Once removed, the council says it will have a "clearer picture of the fault and the repairs needed".
Specialist engineers will be on site from Monday, February 25, to extract the pin. 

Lynne Wait, interim engineering manager for Poole council, said: "Engineers have thoroughly assessed all the options for extracting the pin. Significant temporary works are required to enable the pin to be removed and once this has happened the bridge will need to remain closed whilst the ram end assembly is thoroughly inspected and the bridge is recommissioned.

"Once we have a clearer picture of the fault and the repairs needed we can order the replacement parts required. Once all the parts have been manufactured, the Twin Sails Bridge will need to be closed again in the future to install and test the replacement parts.

“We will endeavour to carry out these works as quickly as possible and return the bridge to normal operation. We apologise for any inconvenience these works may cause.” 

The Hamworthy leaf of the bridge has been operating on a single cylinder operating mode since just before Christmas, meaning the bridge is being lifted using one ram and is operating at half the usual speed. 

This arrangement will continue until all the repairs to the Hamworthy leaf are carried out, bringing the bridge back into full use.

Over the course of the two weeks, annual maintenance work will also be carried out on the bridge.
The crossing will be shut to all traffic, except pedestrians and cyclists, until Monday, March 11.

It will remain in the down position during the closure and will not be lifting for marine traffic.

The works include: servicing the hydraulic systems; software and control system checks and adjustments; replacement of missing and failed LED road studs, and replacement of failed lamps.