ALL of the road surface has been removed from Poole’s Twin Sails Bridge.

After first cracks appeared in the surface on the lifting leaves and then lumps fell away, engineers are now considering how to fix the problem.

The first stage has been to scrape away the layers of asphalt covering the £21.6million Poole Harbour lifting bridge.

Jim Bright, Borough of Poole strategic director said: “We can confirm that the contractor has removed the road surfacing from both the bridge’s lifting leaves.”

He said: “An investigation into the cause of the defect is ongoing. Appropriate remedial work has yet to be agreed.”

The problems arose following load testing just before the official celebrations on March 9, when a defect arose in a small area of road surface on both lifting leaves.

However, over that weekend, bits of road fell away when the bridge was lifted. Contractor Hochtief (UK) found the rubble from a patch 20m by 7m, in pieces measuring up to 30cm long, when the bridge was lowered on the Monday morning.

A visit by the Princess Royal went ahead that afternoon, when she was driven across the Twin Sails Bridge before visiting the control room and pressing the button to open the leaves.

The princess, who is patron of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, was interested to hear about the problems the bridge had encountered and had the details explained to her by Mr Bright and Julian McLaughlin, head of transportation services.

Once the investigations are complete the council will publish a programme of works, which could include a closure of the Back Water Channel in order to resurface the road.

It is not known exactly when the Twin Sails Bridge will open to traffic.