Today I had a Zoom with Alan Patrickson, Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods at Durham County Council, to discuss Whorlton Bridge.
Alan updated me on the work currently underway to secure the much needed repairs to the bridge.
Firstly, the project team from the Witton Park Bridge have been transferred to the Whorlton Bridge project, bringing their substantial expertise of historic bridges.
The first work to be completed will be the removal of the vertical hangers to test them for their load bearing capabilities. In order to do this, the bridge will need to be temporarily supported from below. Given the historic nature of Whorlton Bridge, all such works will need to be approved by Historic England.
Durham County Council are working at pace to draw up the required documents to put the above out to tender. Thankfully, the lockdown will have no impact on this specific work, and it is hoped that partners will be in place by March.
A dedicated page has been set up on the Durham County Council website, link below, to provide updates on the progress of the work. I have been assured this will be updated regularly, and should be a first port of call for anyone looking for such info.
I know many people have raised concerns about the fact pedestrian access is no longer allowed on the bridge. Alan and I discussed this in detail, and I am reassured to hear that Durham County Council are currently exploring the option of temporary structures, which may allow pedestrian access whilst the repair works are underway. Of course, there will be cost implications but I will work closely with DCC to explore all possible funding streams, and will continue to raise this issue in Parliament.
Finally, Alan has agreed to attend a Zoom meeting for local residents to ask any questions or raise any concerns you may have, which I will chair. Alan will also ask the project team to attend. I am working with Alan to find a suitable date and time, and will publicise this as soon as possible.
I hope this is a useful update, but please do contact me if you have any further questions on email@example.com
All the best,