A new railway bridge has reopened to motorists in Cumbria after a major upgrade at the Port of Workington.
The £4m investment has seen Siddick bridge completely rebuilt to modern standards so it can take port traffic over the Cumbrian Coast Line railway.
Yesterday (Monday 7 June) vehicles were able to travel over the bigger and better structure improved as part of the Great North Rail Project.
The new 8.4-metre wide bridge will restore two-way traffic to the key port.
This means faster and smoother access for the thousands of vehicles which haul 500,000 tonnes of cargo in and out of the site each year.
The multi-million-pound railway bridge replacement was funded by Network Rail, Cumbria County Council, and the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.
Roisin Nelson, sponsor at Network Rail, said: “It’s been a pleasure for the railway to pool resources with our Cumbrian partners to create a new platform for future jobs and global trading opportunities at the Port of Workington.
“Not only does the new overbridge allow more logistic traffic to travel to and from the port, but it also helps make the Cumbrian coast line below stay safe and reliable for passengers and freight for decades to come.”
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I’m delighted that the bridge is now reopening to motorists – the new bridge is key to local connectivity, further growth at the port, and the future development of the wider region.
“The replacement road and footbridge is a huge improvement and is a vital part of the redevelopment of the port – helping to get people and goods where they need to be, as well as boosting transport and connectivity links locally, nationally, and internationally.
Steve Curl, board member for transport and infrastructure at the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Cumbria LEP is delighted to have contributed £2 million of Local Growth Funds to this strategically important project. The eagerly awaited replacement for the old stone bridge and the new footbridge will in turn improve access for vehicles to the Port and enhance pedestrian safety.
“Better connectivity between the port, Cumbria and the North’s road network will significantly strengthen the county’s economy.”
Cllr Mike Johnson, leader of the Allerdale Borough Council, said: “It’s great to see the progress on this project going so well, which is a credit to everyone involved. Completion of this enhanced entrance to the Port of Workington will undoubtedly make the area more attractive to inward investors and is an integral part of our future regeneration plans for Workington.”
“By working in partnership with Network Rail, the Port of Workington and alongside local businesses and residents, the project to redevelop this site will benefit the local community for generations to come.”
Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington, said: “I am delighted that the upgrade of Siddick bridge is one step closer to completion. Infrastructure upgrades like this, throughout my constituency, are incredibly important to the future growth of existing and new local businesses. A number of local businesses rely on Workington Port and look forward to seeing the bridge fully operational in the coming weeks.”
Built more than 150 years ago the original Siddick bridge was in a poor condition, with weight restrictions and one-way traffic management put in place for safety.
The work to rebuild it started in November 2020 and has seen local firm Story Contracting demolishing the old bridge and installing a new pre-cast concrete deck.
A new footbridge was also built north of the existing bridge to provide an access for pedestrians.
To start with a single lane has been opened to vehicles while finishing touches take place to the sides of the bridge.
Both lanes are expected to be open by the end of June.