Whitby Swing Bridge closure and resurfacing work is delayed again for six months due to shortage of materials

A project to resurface the historic Whitby Swing Bridge and widen its pavements to reduce overcrowding has been postponed for a second time.

North Yorkshire Council contractors were originally due to start the work on October 2, but agreed to delay after complaints from local business owners who feared it would affect visitor footfall during the busy autumn season.

The two-week closure was pushed back to November 20 – but the council has confirmed that the renewal will now not begin until spring due to supply chain issues.

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The contractor has been unable to source the required specialist materials, and cannot work in poor conditions during winter.

Whitby Swing BridgeWhitby Swing Bridge
Whitby Swing Bridge

Coun Keane Duncan said: “We are disappointed that the planned works cannot go ahead as scheduled, however, we remain committed to undertaking the essential waterproofing and resurfacing on the Swing Bridge.

“Unfortunately, we are not alone, with local authorities across the UK affected by supply chain issues in the current climate. We can’t carry out the works during the winter months so we will aim for spring next year. We will keep the public updated.”

The essential works will involve the removal of the existing road surface down to the steel deck. The bridge will then undergo waterproofing and resurfacing, incorporating a lighter coloured surface to reduce heat absorption and expansion of the bridge deck. Repainting is also planned for next year.

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The footpaths will be widened to improve safety for pedestrians during busy periods.

The bridge, which spans 75ft, was built in 1908. It links the upper and lower harbour areas and the east and west sides of the town.

North Yorkshire Council has already implemented closures to cars during peak visitor flows to relieve bottlenecks.

In recent years the Swing Bridge has also suffered from mechanical failures. One of the breakdowns, in December 2021, trapped the port’s fishing fleet in the harbour. The previous summer, it got stuck in the ‘up’ position and replacement buses had to be used to ferry visitors to attractions such as Whitby Abbey.

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The road will be closed to traffic and pedestrians throughout the works with a shuttle bus service transporting passengers to the other side of the town. It will remain open for boats to pass in and out of the harbour.