A contractor has been appointed and is ready to progress the work. This will take place after the pre-planned dredging programme which is taking place throughout November and which requires access to the channel.
An independent specialist has also been appointed to carry out a review of the lifting mechanism over the longer term and that work is already underway.
Graham Farrant, Chief Executive, BCP Council:
“We fully appreciate the inconvenience and frustration of the Twin Sails Bridge being out of use. We would like to reassure residents that the Council has been working hard to ensure the bridge is brought back into operation as soon as possible.
“We are dealing with a very complex structure that is reliant on precision engineering and located in the challenging working marine environment of the harbour. Our focus has been to ensure we get the necessary parts and parties involved all lined up ready to bring the bridge back into operation.
“The new parts required to replace the main bearing pivot-pin for cylinder one have been manufactured. These materials had several months lead in time. The main bearing pivot-pin is made of high-grade steel and weighs nearly half a tonne, this combined with the ancillary parts and bearing assembly means the involvement of two tonnes of replacement materials. A spare bearing has also been fabricated.
“In order to repair the bridge as soon as possible and given the complexity of the engineering involved, all parties need to agree to the process prior to works getting underway.
“A contractor has already been appointed and is ready to progress the work required once pre-planned dredging work has been completed. This is because the bridge needs to be down for the repairs to take place and the pre-planned dredging programme requires access through the backwater channel.
“The Council has made every effort to reduce the travel impact of having only one bridge in operation. This will continue until the Twin Sails Bridge is once again operational. Poole Bridge will continue to operate on a reduced schedule with less lifts at peak travelling times during the morning, and traffic light sequences have been adjusted. Good accessibility to frequent bus services also remains in place.”
Although the repair work being undertaken in the next few weeks will mean the bridge will be open to road traffic again, it will not be fully operational as it will be running on a single cylinder. Work will continue to fully rectify the issues following the outcome of the independent review.