THE re-opening of a crucial bridge badly damaged in last winter’s floods has been delayed.
North Yorkshire County Council has been forced to admit repairs to Tadcaster Bridge will not be completed by the end of December as originally planned.
The completion date has now been put back to January with the delay blamed on higher than normal water levels triggered by Network Rail work further downstream.
Coun Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire County Council member for Tadcaster, said: “We are extremely frustrated by this development.
“Our contractors have been pulling out all the stops to get this very complex, painstaking job completed within the year.
“Our main goal is to get Tadcaster back on its feet after the terrible flooding and collapse of the bridge last Christmas.
“But we are determined to push on and make every effort to get this job finished as soon as we possibly can.”
The county council said work had been carried out round the clock seven days a week to complete the repairs as soon as possible.
However the high river levels, caused by damming carried out by Network Rail downstream at Ulleskelf has meant 20 days have been lost.
The delay to the timetable was agreed after contractors met on Wednesday.
Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s executive member for highways, said: “We are working flat out to complete this bridge for the residents of Tadcaster and despite this setback the works have now reached a stage where they are less susceptible to rising river levels. We have had to revise our timetable for completion as a result of this latest development. Of course, we will now be contending with more adverse winter weather but we will press on to finish earlier in January if we possibly can.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We can confirm we are carrying out vital bridge work at Ulleskelf as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, and agreed the terms of our work with the Environment Agency prior to accessing the river. We have worked to the agreed plan for several weeks and yesterday (Wednesday), for the first time, we were advised that there may be an impact on the water level in Tadcaster. After speaking with the Environment Agency today, we have agreed to remove our worksite from the river to allow water levels to drop and essential work to take place at Tadcaster this weekend before we return to Ulleskelf to finish our own bridge repairs. We will continue to work with the Environment Agency and Selby District Council on this issue.”