WATCH: Tour of latest work on Linton Bridge ahead of summer opening

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Engineers and contractors have been working non-stop since January last year, to get Linton Bridge up and running after the devastating 2015 Christmas floods.

Linton Bridge has been closed for more than 12 months after the southern arch dropped by some eight inches, leaving large cracks and a noticeable dip in the structure.

Left to right: Tim Smith, Clerk of works, Site Manager, Gary Reeves, Councillor Richard Lewis, LCC Project Manager Aaron Okorie and Site Engineer, David Aspinall stand on the bridge.

Left to right: Tim Smith, Clerk of works, Site Manager, Gary Reeves, Councillor Richard Lewis, LCC Project Manager Aaron Okorie and Site Engineer, David Aspinall stand on the bridge.

Just over a year later and all major stabilisation works on the bridge are now complete, but it will be summer before the residents of Linton and Collingham are re-united.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council's Executive Member for regeneration, transport and planning said: "Whenever a bridge closes people say you've got to do whatever you can to get it re-open immediately but I think people were actually fairly realistic and said in an ideal world its not achievable.

"We all know that its not going to happen quickly, the main thing was coming up with a solution, you can't say alright we know what we're doing in a fortnight to sort it out.

The design solution took a while, and I think at that stage people got a bit nervous saying why aren't things happening, well you can't do it like that, you can't just come in and say oh we'll put a bit of scaffolding round and put a bit of cement on it, it's a very complex job."

L-R Gary Reeves, Coun Richard Lewis, Aaron Okorie and David Aspinall stood by the southern pier which has settled some eight inches.

L-R Gary Reeves, Coun Richard Lewis, Aaron Okorie and David Aspinall stood by the southern pier which has settled some eight inches.

Early on engineers had wanted to collapse the southern arch and then rebuild it, but with no guarantee that this might lead to the collapse of the whole bridge, they came up with a new idea.

Initially cracks in the arches were repaired with metal 'stitching' before temporary supports were erected in the river so that work could begin on reinforcing the piers.

In the last few months, workmen have been replacing the original wooden foundations of the piers with concrete to strengthen the structure.

Once complete the bridge will have a total of 52 concrete piles to support it - 13 in each pier - and engineers say the new design means it should stand its ground for at least 120 years.

A highways engineer drills into the pier ready for a concrete pile to be fitted in.

A highways engineer drills into the pier ready for a concrete pile to be fitted in.

The next stage of work will see the road surface on the bridge removed in order to lay down concrete slabs connecting all the piles, before making the bridge level again and rebuilding the masonry parapets.

The final stage will see the road surface replaced and as part of the works, the council will also be re-surfacing part of the road leading up to the bridge from Collingham.

Aaron Okorie, Leeds City Council Highways Engineer and Project Leader for the bridge repairs said: "If I can be so crass, when I finish this job nothing will touch this bridge because it will be so much stronger than it was before."

Since it's closure, Leeds City Council have received £4.5 million from the government in highways funding which has been ring-fenced for Linton Bridge, with anything left over to be used on other highways priorities.

Looking out towards Collingham stood on the dipped southern arch of the bridge

Looking out towards Collingham stood on the dipped southern arch of the bridge

With the same devastating floods leading to the partial collapse of Tadcaster bridge, many have argued that the situation in Linton has been left out of the limelight.

But Coun Lewis explained the two situations were quite different and while the closure in Linton has been less disruptive, he was sure local people will be happy to see it open again.

He said: "Tadcaster was split in two it was very visible where as this was not the same kind of economic impact or social impact on a place.

"It shouldn't make too much difference to businesses, because there wasn't a huge amount of disruption caused by the bridge being closed, I think the main impact was on the local pub and we have had a shuttle bus going during the period it has been closed, so in terms of disruption this isn't a kind of major event for the area but I'm people will be very glad to be able to use the bridge again.

Local resident, Elizabeth Keeler, on the newly tarmacked road that "leads to nowhere".

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