Missing footbridge on Whitby’s historic piers to be replaced this winter

Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) has revealed that the East Pier footbridge will be put up during a break in the £7.6 million scheme to repair the structures when the weather turns. The original footbridge was removed in 2001 because of damage caused by the sea. The council has now announced when the £300,000 structure will make its return to Whitby.

Cllr Mike Cockerill, the cabinet member for major projects, wrote in his report to go before a full council meeting on Monday September 3 that work on the repairs to the piers would start next month, before the footbridge was installed. He wrote: “Contracts have been issued to Balfour Beatty and are in the process of being signed. “Works are due to begin on site in September 2018. There will be a winter shutdown between November 5, 2018 and March 17, 2019 due to anticipated deterioration in sea conditions preventing marine-based work progressing in an efficient manner.

“Work is expected to be completed in November 2019. “During the winter shutdown the council intends to install the new link bridge to the East Pier. ”

The footbridge project was realised after Whitby Town Council agreed to contribute £6,000 a year for 20 years from its income from toilets in the town to the cost. The footbridge allowed harbour staff easy access to maintain the navigation beacon at the end of the eastern extension. Since it was removed staff have had to use a boat and ladders to access it. The new footbridge will be 26m (85ft) in length, with a wooden walkway and steel frame. The £7.6m scheme to repair Whitby’s crumbling piers comes after years of concern for the town if the structures were to fail.

Flaws in the North Yorkshire town’s piers, which protect hundreds of homes and businesses from flooding, had been found in an inspection by consultants in 2008.The Grade II listed East and West piers enclose the mouth of the River Esk where it flows into the North Sea and were built in the 18th century from sandstone, while extensions and footbridges were added in the early 20th century.

Published in the Whitby Gazette on Fri 31 Aug 2018. With acknowledgements and thanks to the Editor, Whitby Gazette.

Are we holding our breath? Perhaps not…

Eg: ‘…contracts are in the process of being signed…’ = not yet signed…

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