Bridge on the River Hull to finally open two years late

A councillor has said “fingers are crossed” that a long-awaited bridge over the River Hull will finally open next month.

The landmark £7m bridge, which was meant to open over two years ago, has been beset by numerous delays.

The latest opening date was meant to be Easter, but that has now been set back to April.

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Coun Martin Mancey, who holds the transport portfolio, said: “I think there have been anticipated opening dates in the past which have come and gone and we can only keep our fingers crossed that this time it will be opened – but until such time I can’t say I am 100 per cent confident.”

According to a source the first time they tried to swing the bridge – which will be the first of its kind in the UK to allow people to remain on it as it opens – the hand-rails buckled and there were problems at one point with the rolling track.

The restructuring of public sector bodies with the economic downturn, as well as extreme weather and “extra work needed to prepare the ground” have also been given as reasons for delays.

Assistant head of service, transport and asset management Graham Hall, said there had been “niggles” rather than major faults.

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He blamed the delay in part on the abolition of the original funders of the scheme, Yorkshire Forward, and the transfer to the Homes and Communities Agency, which meant no work took place for a time. But he also said it was partly due to council bridge engineers having to sign off each part of the bridge.

The project has been managed by Ove Arup and Partners and built by Barnsley-based firm Qualter Hall.

Based on a concept by architects McDowell and Benedetti it is expected to become a visitor attraction in its own right.

Mr Hall said: “If we are taking on a very expensive asset in a part of the river where it has to move you have to make sure it swings every time. Our bridge engineers before they are happy that they will take it on as a city council asset need to be certain everything is working correctly. It is a complex piece of engineering and we have to make sure it is right to protect local taxpayers.”

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It has been dubbed “the bridge to nowhere” as it was intended for a £100m development on the east bank known as the Boom, which fell through at the start of the recession. But Coun Mancey said it would come into its own one day because when the recession ends the infrastructure will be in place to develop the East Bank.

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