Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

Work begins on temporary road bridge for Workington

Northside Bridge
Workington's Northside Bridge was destroyed in the November floods

Work is beginning to build a temporary road bridge in the flood-hit Cumbrian town of Workington.

The town was effectively split in half when November's floods destroyed Northside Bridge and badly damaged nearby Calva Bridge.

Rugby-based engineering firm Morgan Est will build the 350-tonne, two-lane bridge, which will cost about £4.6m.

It is hoped the 220ft (67m) structure - known as a Jansen Bridge - will be open to traffic by 28 May.

The government is providing the cash for the bridge.

Announcing the news, Transport Minister Sadiq Khan said: "The construction of this bridge will be a vital step in reuniting the town and will make life easier for local residents and businesses alike."

Permanent replacement

Jim Buchanan, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: "Today is a key day in that we have a contractor confirmed to do the work.

"In the meantime, we have also been working on plans for two permanent replacement road bridges in Workington, which we're aiming to deliver within the next two years."

Sections of the 40ft (12m) wide sections of the bridge will be brought to Cumbria from Holland over the next few weeks.

Foundations will be dug 656ft (200m) east of the former Northside Bridge.

At the moment, Workington motorists must cross the River Derwent at Cockermouth's Papcastle Bridge - a detour of about 18 miles (30km).

An Army-built footbridge, named after a policeman who was swept to his death, was opened in December.

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