Bridge of sighs: No footbridge for flood-hit Leeds town as £4.5m repair bill is signed off

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Leeds has been left with a £9million repair bill after the Boxing Day flooding, senior councillors will be told next week.

And the council’s cabinet will be asked to sign off half that amount - £4.5m -for a major year-long repair project on Linton Bridge, which has been closed since the devastation last year.

However the authority has now ruled out a proposal to build a footbridge as a temporary measure to reverse impact on businesses and the community, citing “costs and logistical challenges”.

The bridge over the River Wharfe, which carries traffic between Linton and Collingham, suffered damage to the foundations. Its south pier (bridge support) sank approximately 200 millimetres overnight, deforming the deck and parapets.

Emergency work was done before Easter to fill the voids beneath the sunken pier using special underwater concrete. A temporary road also had to be built in the field next door after talks with the landowner and tenant.

Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning councillor Richard Lewis said: “I think everyone now realises the challenge of repairing Linton Bridge is considerable and requires detailed and complex work, so is not something that can be done quickly. However, we are committed to completing these repairs as a key part of our response to the floods.”

The council has acknowledged that the closure of the bridge is “causing a significant impact on the local communities and businesses”, and it says the feasibility of providing a temporary footbridge has been considered “at length”.

But the authority also stresses that the proposed footbridge would involve a “significant environmental impact” and a cost of £450,000 for just a few months.

“So due to the environmental impact, the costs and logistical challenges the executive board will be recommended to not approve the footbridge proposal,” the council’s statement says.

Instead of the footbridge, a free shuttle bus service which has been operating between Linton and Wetherby since early January has been enhanced.

It is provided by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), and runs hourly between 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday. Since the end of May the service has been extended to travel directly from Linton to Collingham along the diversionary route and remains free of charge. Updated timetables and bus information can be seen at the following links:

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