As work to improve Poole Bridge enters a new phase of construction, it is clear that the works will not be completed in September as previously anticipated.
The bridge is now expected to reopen at the end of October 2017.
Additional steelwork repairs have only become visible following the removal of the approach spans and walkways resulting in the improvement works taking longer than expected to be completed.
The contractor will be working weekends and extended hours to minimise the impact.
The contractor has now made good progress with the construction of the new abutment on the Hamworthy side and new steel beams to support the road deck will be installed in August. Work is also continuing to complete new wider walkways around the towers and replace the old control system.
The council is extending temporary bus service arrangements for lower Hamworthy, with an enhanced service 152 operating 7 days a week, until work is completed. A revised lifting schedule for Twin Sails Bridge is in place for an increase in marine traffic over the summer.
John Rice, Engineering Manager for Borough of Poole, said: "A lot of work has taken place and we have now turned the corner on this complex project. The work on the Poole side is continuing and the structure is now taking shape. We have also now overcome a number of challenges that couldn’t have been foreseen at the start of the project.
“We are continuing to work with all stakeholders to try and minimise disruption as far as possible. We anticipate that Poole Bridge will be reopened to the public at the end of October and would like to thank everyone for their continued patience.”
• More information about work to improve Poole Bridge
Construction of the Hamworthy abutment has proved a major challenge with many issues only becoming apparent when the project was underway. Substantial underground obstructions were encountered, including:
• uncovered extensive remains of previous bridges, such as timber piles
• a major section of a buried quay wall with large blocks of Purbeck stone
• live and abandoned utility cables
Cllr Ian Potter, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transportation, Borough of Poole, said: “It’s good to see that the work is moving forward at a pace. These works are part of the £23.3 million being invested in Poole’s infrastructure by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. Poole is already benefiting from the investment in Gravel Hill and will see further major improvements to the A31 to the Port of Poole over the next few years, supporting not only travel improvements but economic growth in the area as well.”
Rob Dunford, Interim Dorset LEP Director, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We appreciate that this completion date is much later than expected but it is vital to the overall success of our Port of Poole programme that this construction work is carried out properly. Poole Bridge offers a vital route into the port and these works are aimed at ensuring it continues to do so for many years yet. It was great to see members of the public being engaged at the public open day last week and we thank them for their patience during the extensive works to this important economic and regeneration project.”