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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Historic bridge returned after restoration battle

A HISTORIC footbridge restored to its former glory has been reinstated.

The Edwardian Clare House Lane footbridge, in Grange, which links the town with its promenade, was lowered into place last week, signalling the end of a four-year battle to replace it.

Finishing touches are now being added to the bridge before its reopening, which is expected to be on Thursday next week.

Construction workers from Balfour Beatty lowered the bridge into place using a crane, taking advantage of the current cancellation of train services between Barrow and Grange due to work on the Lindal Tunnel and Arnside Viaduct.

The 12-metre steel bridge was pulled down in 2006 for health and safety reasons but campaigners lobbied for it to be brought back.

The bridge had been stored at BAE Systems in Barrow since its removal.

The shipyard had originally pledged to refurbish the metal structure as a community project, but was forced to pull out due to budget issues in October last year, which prompted South Lakeland District Council to commit an extra £250,000 towards the cost of reinstalling the structure.

Lawrence Conway, chief executive of SLDC, said: “Having the bridge lowered into place was a momentous occasion both for the project and for the residents of Grange. The bridge’s restoration has generated a lot of local interest and means a lot to the community of Grange.

“I’m delighted that the bridge has finally been returned. It will provide safe and improved access to and from the promenade and we look forward to the completion of the project by Balfour Beatty when its use can be enjoyed.”

The main deck and supporting columns have been re-used, along with structural improvements to the bridge.

The bridge has been fully stripped down and re-painted and the brick support columns have been rebuilt.

New railings and security measures are being fitted.

SLDC said work to bring back the bridge was a cross-party project. Grange Town Council and other partners were also involved.

An official opening ceremony will take place once the bridge has been re-opened.

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