COUNCIL boss Graham Farrant has confirmed repair work on Poole’s Twin Sails Bridge will not start until ongoing dredging work is finished in the harbour.

Mr Farrant, chief executive of BCP Council, says a contractor has been appointed and the new parts needed to repair the structure have now been manufactured – including the bespoke main bearing pivot pin, which weighs in at nearly half a tonne.

The council has also announced a review, focusing on the long-term effect on the bridge’s lifting mechanism, has started in earnest.

On Friday the Daily Echo revealed the parts had been manufactured, but work on the £37 million bridge, Poole Harbour’s second crossing, was unlikely to start before December.

Now Mr Farrant has confirmed: “In order to repair the bridge as soon as possible, and given the complexity of the engineering involved all parties need to agree to the process prior to any works being implemented.

“A contractor has already been appointed and is ready to progress the work required once pre-planned dredging work has been completed. This is because the bridge needs to be down for the repairs to take place and the pre-planned dredging programme requires access through the backwater channel.”

This dredging work, being carried out by MDL Marinas, is due to finish at the end of November.

But even when repair work starts and the bridge, hopefully, reopens, BCP Council says it will not be fully operational as it will only be running on a single cylinder.

Campaigner and Poole Beach Huts Association chairman Bob Lister said: “This feels like another debacle the likes of the Sandbanks Ferry. Surely, they could have changed when they dredge the channel?

“With the bridge down at this time of year, this council seems intent on spoiling Christmas shopping for its council-tax payers.”

Another resident said: “This nonsense needs resolving before all the new homes in Hamworthy/Turlin Moor area are completed.”

BCP Council closed the bridge in early August, after a protracted period where it had been operating on only one of its two lifting rams.

This came after engineers removed the bearing and large pin earlier in the year.

Yesterday, Mr Farrant said: “We fully appreciate the inconvenience and frustration of the Twin Sails Bridge being out of use. We would like to reassure residents that the council has been working hard to ensure the bridge is brought back into operation as soon as possible.

“We are dealing with a very complex structure that is reliant on precision engineering and located in the challenging working marine environment of the harbour. Our focus has been to ensure we get the necessary parts and parties involved all lined up ready to bring the bridge back into operation. The new parts required to replace the main bearing pivot-pin for cylinder one have been manufactured. “These materials needed several months’ lead in time. The main bearing pivot-pin is made of high-grade steel and weighs nearly half a tonne, this combined with the ancillary parts and bearing assembly means the involvement of two tonnes of replacement materials. A spare bearing has also been fabricated.

“In order to repair the bridge as soon as possible and given the complexity of the engineering involved, all parties need to agree to the process prior to any works being implemented.”