Leeds people risking lives by using ‘unsafe’ flood-hit bridge

PEOPLE in Leeds have been warned to avoid a structurally unsound bridge over the River Wharfe north of Leeds that has been closed due to flood damage.

Volunteers clear the mud from the Kirkstall Bridge pub after the Boxing Day floods in Leeds. Pic: Steve Riding
Volunteers clear the mud from the Kirkstall Bridge pub after the Boxing Day floods in Leeds. Pic: Steve Riding

Leeds City Council took the decision to close Linton Bridge, which carries traffic between Collingham and Linton, when flooding of the River Wharfe rendered it unsafe.

However, despite it being blocked off to traffic, some motorists and other road users are thought to have been risking their lives by manoeuvring their way around temporary safety barriers. It will be fully fenced off by the council tomorrow (Tuesday).

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Leeds City Council leader councillor Judith Blake said: “While we understand this closure is causing great inconvenience to road users it is without question the only option available.

“Linton Bridge is structurally unsound. This means it is not safe and should not be used under any circumstances.

“It will take several days of careful investigation before we know the full extent of the damage and unfortunately it’s likely to be out of use for several weeks at least.

“We appreciate this will cause major disruption to traffic in the area but this is unavoidable and we are doing everything we can. “Meanwhile, I would urge people to in the strongest possible terms to stay away from the bridge- no journey is worth risking your life for.”

Meanwhile, the clean-up operation across areas of Leeds affected by the flooding continues.

Coun. Judith Blake, leader Leeds City Council, in Kirkstall earlier today (Monday) as work began to clear up after the flooding.

Most of the floodwater has now been either pumped out or drained away from the city centre.

Council staff, local councillors and other groups joined local people for a big community effort in Kirkstall today which was a huge success.

Councillor Blake added: “Leeds has suffered a lot in the floods and we are doing everything in our power to help people and businesses get back on their feet.

“We’re not going to be back to normal overnight, but it’s humbling to see what a tremendous community spirit we have in this great city of ours. Leeds should be very proud.”

Kirkstall Road is now also back open and Leeds City Council has sourced several thousand extra sandbags to have on standby should flood problems return.

However people are asked to note that these are not available on demand: they will be allocated according to Environment Agency guidance.

The council will be guided by Environment Agency (EA) risk assessments of areas that might be prone to flooding and will supply sandbags to places that need them based on the EA’s recommendations.

For further information and guidance on flooding you can check the council’s website here: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Flooding.aspx