Hard-working bridge gets attention such a vital link deserves

The historic swing bridge is one of Whitby’s most famous features and is a vital link between the east and west parts of the town.

Since the early 1900s, the mechanical structure has enabled locals and visitors to cross, and once opened allows larger vessels to ride out to sea or make their way into the harbour.

Located on the choppy Yorkshire coast, the bridge operates in a harsh environment, open to the elements of wind and salt sea spray and the tidal river, operating every day on two tides.

Our highways teams work tirelessly with Scarborough Borough Council to carry out day-to-day maintenance, regular services and upgrades.

With daytime visitor numbers increasing year on year, we have regularly had to close the swing bridge to traffic. To ensure a safe visit for all, a trial closure was introduced on weekends, bank holidays and busy periods last year. We have announced a list of closures for 2022 in response to public feedback.

Whitby Swing Bridge closure sign

Karl Battersby, Corporate Director for Business and Environmental Services, said: “The closure of the swing bridge has significant safety benefits as we all know how busy the seafront can get at peak holiday times. We have already seen visitors flock to the town this year during school holidays and periods of good weather.

“We understand the importance of allowing traffic over the swing bridge, but this has to be balanced with the needs of pedestrians at busy times of the day. We love to see Whitby’s tourism economy thriving, and ensuring public safety is our main priority.”

The measures began on Easter weekend and will be in place on all bank holiday weekends, including the long weekend for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and all weekends in the school holidays between May and October.

The swing bridge will close to vehicles between 10.30am and 4pm, with an exemption for buses and vehicles responding to an emergency call. On weekends and bank holidays over the school summer holidays, local highways teams may decide to cancel the closure if the weather forecast is poor.

We are carrying out a £380,000 painting and maintenance scheme on the swing bridge in time for next summer.

During extended periods of very warm weather, the bridge expands and seizes in the shut position – preventing boats from leaving or entering the harbour. We plan to use a lighter coloured surfacing to keep it at lower temperatures.

Find more information about the bridge.