Bus services to a Leeds village face being disrupted for up to THREE YEARS because a railway bridge over which they pass has been ruled unsafe.
Fall Lane Bridge carries traffic into and out of the village of East Ardsley between Leeds and Wakefield.
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The bridge was built in 1893 at a time when the community had a major rail depot including sidings and carriage-cleaning facilities.
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In recent years the bridge has been used by heavy goods vehicles, including 40 tonne lorries.
The bridge has five metal struts underneath. Council and railway engineers have found four of them haved to be unsafe, probably through corrosion.
Council officials have ruled the bridge out of bounds to any vehicle over three tonnes for safety reasons.
The council is now negotiating with Network Rail to have the work carried out. Meanwhile the weight restriction affects services to the village, including waste disposal wagons but most importantly buses.
Councillor Jack Dunn is one of three Labour Councillors representing Ardsley and Robin Hood. He said: "Even if it was decided to do something immediately, with design work and everything else it is unlikely to start before 2013 or 2014. Railtrack have already said they are looking at 2014. We are in the hands of the structural engineers."
He said that because buses were unable to use the bridge and were diverting to other routes, pensioners in the village were faced with walking half a mile up a steep hill with their shopping.