Yorkshire Dales community reconnected as bridge destroyed by flash flooding opens once again

The second of two bridges near Grinton that were washed away by flash flooding in July 2019 has now been restored.

The sudden cloudburst that struck Swaledale and Arkengarthdale caused extreme damage to paths, roads and property that was concentrated in a small area while other parts of the Dales escaped relatively unscathed.

Among the structural casualties were Cogden South and North bridges, which were both closed to traffic for over a year following the storm.

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Cogden North, near Grinton Moor, re-opened in November and now Cogden South, on the Richmond to Grinton road, has also been restored.

Cogden South bridge is now back open

Cogden South was the more severely damaged of the two, having been completely washed away and its original stonework smashed. New stone had to be ordered four months in advance to specifications that mean it can withstand extreme weather.

Temporary roads and bridges were provided by North Yorkshire County Council until repairs could be completed.

Coun Yvonne Peacock, who represents the Upper Dales, said: "Cogden South acts as a vital link to our rural communities for residents and visitors alike.

“This winter has proved challenging but our highways teams battled the elements to get the bridge open as soon as possible. The new bridge will serve communities for years to come.”

The new bridge has been designed to blend into its surroundings

The new stone has the same texture, strength, size and colour as the previous crossing, and the structure has been built to its original size.

Coun Don Mackenzie added: “It’s great to see a key route into the Yorkshire Dales back open after months of extremely hard work. The arch has been built in a traditional manner but reinforced to withstand a very similar force of water which caused the original structure to wash away.

“As with any masonry bridge there was a great deal of skill in cutting the stones to the right sizes and building the arch. Our highways teams have done an incredible job, even overcoming Covid-19 restrictions and working through severe winter weather.”

Grinton and Ellerton Abbey Parish Council has been raising funds to carry out work to stabilise the becksides of the village green and parking area to prevent more flooding in the future.

The old bridge in the aftermath of the flash floods

Chair Geraldine Coates said: “It is very welcome news that the much-anticipated Cogden South road bridge has reopened and the vital road link from Swaledale to Leyburn has been reinstated. It represents another huge step to recovery from the devastating flooding in July 2019.”