Page last updated at 14:30 GMT, Sunday, 29 November 2009

Flooded town's new bridge on move

Major Philip Curtis describes the work on the bridge

Army transport specialists have begun moving parts of a 110-tonne footbridge for the flood-hit town of Workington in Cumbria.

The components are being taken to the town from a holding base at the Halton Camp in Lancashire.

Royal Engineers are working to lay 4,000-tons of rock base foundations for the 51-metre structure. They hope the bridge will be open by next weekend.

The town was cut in half when floods washed away bridges and damaged others.

Maj Phillip Curtis said: "At the moment we are aiming to have the bridge finished by next weekend to try and hit the school run on Monday.

Map showing the location of the new station

"The site is throwing up challenges and it is a complex build but we hope that is the target we will be hitting."

Construction at the site is likely to begin early next week and this will be followed by safety inspections.

The town's A597 Northside Bridge and a footbridge collapsed, while the Calva Bridge was left unstable, when the River Derwent flooded in the early hours of 20 November.

The only remaining connection between the two sides was a railway bridge.

Jim Buchanan, the leader of Cumbria County Council, said the new footbridge bridge, which will span the River Derwent, would be an important boost for the community.

He said: "It will restore just a pedestrian link, but it will be significant in that it is the first move towards putting both sides of Workington back together."

In a further boost for residents, Network Rail has announced that a new free hourly train service will run between the two sides of town from Monday until the end of the year.

The government is providing funding for the service between Workington, a new temporary station north of the river, Flimby and Maryport.

Meanwhile, the Greta road bridge in Keswick, which was closed last week for checks following the flood waters, has now been reopened.

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Army footbridge for flooded town
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