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Final designs for Old Tram Bridge replacement unveiled to the public

Posted on - 7th March, 2024 - 11:18am | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Parks, Preston buildings & attractions, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston Locations, Preston News, Redevelopment, South Ribble Locations, South Ribble News
Designs released for the new bridge over the Ribble

The final design has been unveiled for the bridge that will replace the former Old Tram Bridge over the River Ribble.

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The project faces challenges in terms of how far away it is from any roads and a narrow period of time to complete the work attributed to flood levels ‘ecology reasons’ that Blog Preston understands to be related to wildlife in the river.

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Various designs, not shared by Preston City Council today, were considered and rejected related to the ‘specific requirements and challenges of the sites’.

Read more: Preston Guild Hall could partially reopen but long-term future far from clear

Work will begin this summer and the aim is to complete it by Spring 2025.

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The design work is now in its final stage of development and will be delivered by Preston City Council through its allocation from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Lancashire County Council is managing the project working with Eric Wright Civil Engineering.

Designs released for the new bridge over the Ribble

Read more: Preston’s new Old Tram Bridge will sit at a higher level

Preston City Council said that the design focuses on sustainability, quality and meeting local needs.

Cllr Valerie Wise, Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building and city centre regeneration and development said: “It has been important to work with a local architect who understands the local context and we aim to provide an opportunity for the community to be kept informed of the proposals. It’s important that we get it right and make sure it’s a bridge that stands the test of time, as well as looking good in its surroundings.”

County Councillor Aidy Riggott, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth added: “The tram bridge is a key feature of this part of the River Ribble and the new bridge will restore an important active travel route between South Ribble and Preston city centre for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

Designs released for the new bridge over the Ribble

“Providing good sustainable transport links and places where people can stay healthy by enjoying the outdoors is a key aspect of our levelling up ambitions, and I’m very pleased to be investing in this project which will benefit people in this area for generations to come.”

A series of environmental assessments, ground investigations and topographical surveys have been completed. The team is also consulting with the Environment Agency, Marine Management Organisation and project ecologists, to ensure that the environmental impacts of the new bridge are considered fully throughout the construction, and the lifetime of the bridge – projected to be 120 years.

Read more: Dozens of Avenham Park trees to be removed or cut back for Old Tram Bridge replacement work

John Bridge from Studio John Bridge Architects said: “It is great to be part of the next chapter in the history of the Tram Road Bridge. Since its closure it has been a huge talking point and as a Prestonian I am so pleased the Council has secured through LUF funding. Since assisting the Councils and constructor, it is very impressive to see all the work that has been carried out behind the scenes by all parties, from ecology to logistics and legal departments. I hope with the support of the public and all involved, we’ll deliver this important transport link from the City Parks to South Ribble.”

Designs released for the new bridge over the Ribble
Designs released for the new bridge over the Ribble

Gavin Hulme, Operations Director, Eric Wright Civil Engineering said: “We are proud to be working in collaboration with Preston and Lancashire to deliver this landmark bridge project. We have worked on numerous complex river bridges in recent years and it is a privilege to be working on one so close to our head office and to contribute towards the long-standing infrastructure of Lancashire.”

The bridge has been shut since 2019 due to safety concerns and has seen a campaign calling for it to be restored, leading to the funding bid made successfully to central government for funds to save the bridge.

Genn Cookson, Friends of the Old Tram Bridge, said: “There has been a great deal of progress behind the scenes, and we are encouraged to finally see how the new bridge is going to look when it is finished. The project team have a big task ahead to ensure that the bridge is delivered on time and the funding is spent by the end of 2025, so it is important that there are no delays to the programme.

“The new bridge design won’t replicate the existing design but it will be attractive and sympathetic to its surroundings, and we hope that the people of Preston are happy to support the new design.

“The bridge started as a wooden structure over 200 years ago – it’s part of the bridge’s history to evolve and be rebuilt and I think it is exciting that we will witness its new lease of life. Ultimately though, the utility of the bridge is so important. We have been without a bridge for nearly five years and now we need this important pedestrian, cycling and bridleway link back.”

Closures for work to replace the Old Tram Bridge

The work to replace the Old Tram Bridge will require a number of closures from Monday 25 March 2024 for 12 months to the public rights of way network on the south side of the river within South Ribble.

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