The final phase of work to repair and refurbish Poole Bridge is nearing completion. Every effort is being made to complete this work as soon as possible so the bridge can reopen to the public imminently.
The council’s contractor Interserve is currently conducting a series of scheduled tests to the bridge’s lifting mechanism. These tests are essential to confirm the safety and reliability assurances required for public reopening and must be successfully completed before responsibility for the operation of the bridge can be handed back to the council.
During the course of testing this week the contractor identified some technical issues relating to the software which controls the lifting mechanism. The contractor is making good progress to resolve these issues and is carrying out further tests today.
Once the council has received confirmation from the contractor that a series of satisfactory test lifts has been successfully completed, the council will be in a position to confirm a date for the public reopening of the bridge.
Julian McLaughlin, Head of Growth and Infrastructure, Borough of Poole, said: “The council is very conscious of the impact of the ongoing delay as it has not been possible to take back control of Poole Bridge from Interserve ready for us to reopen the bridge to traffic.
“We are very sorry for the continued inconvenience this is causing some residents and especially people living in Hamworthy. Please be reassured that the council is doing everything in its power to get the bridge reopened at the earliest opportunity. This can only be done once we have received clear assurances from Interserve, confirmed that it is safe to reopen the bridge to the travelling public and ensured that all relevant commissioning and contractual requirements have been met. Given the previous uncertainty on the part of the contractor in terms of delivery timescale, we are unfortunately not in a position to announce a reopening date today. As soon as we are able to confirm the reopening date we will let local people know.”
Cllr Ian Potter, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transportation, Planning and Regeneration said: “I would like to reassure residents that the ongoing delay affecting the completion of Poole Bridge is of major concern for the council. I have already written to the council’s chief executive requesting that a full review is carried out which investigates the circumstances, the factors and the actions which have contributed to the delays. I have also asked that the review looks at the effectiveness of the communications from the project to keep the council and local people informed. The findings from this review will be reported back through the council’s relevant overview and scrutiny process later in the year.”
Once completed, the project will ensure Poole continues to benefit from a two-bridge system. It is supported by funding from the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal programme which is designed to help economic growth, improve housing, and create more highly skilled jobs around Dorset, in particular the Port of Poole and its regeneration area.