Reconstruction work on a bridge at Gilling West has been completed a week ahead of schedule by North Yorkshire County Council.
The work involved taking down and rebuilding the majority of the parapets to Gilling Bridge, a Grade II listed structure.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “The condition of the parapet was deteriorating quickly. It was discovered that the mortar holding the parapet together had become soft all the way through the wall and in some places stone had become loose. The full reconstruction was the more expensive option, but has returned the wall to ‘as new’ condition and means it should require less maintenance in future.”
Work began in September and was scheduled to finish on 15 December, but good progress by the County Council’s contractor meant the work was completed a week early and temporary traffic lights were removed on 8 December.
It is believed the bridge was built in 1799. It was later widened and was strengthened in 1986, but it was clear that in the past the parapets had been rebuilt in isolated sections to repair damage caused by vehicles hitting the bridge.
County Councillor Angus Thompson, Member for Richmondshire North, said: “Following much concern among the community of Gilling West as to how the village would cope with the disruption caused by traffic lights on the bridge, work on the rebuilding of the listed building began late September and was completed a week ahead of schedule. The village is in awe of the superb job the contractors have done and we ought to say ‘well done’ to everyone involved in this £122,000 restoration project.”
Gilling West Parish Council chair Brian Metcalfe said: “When I was forewarned about Gilling West bridge being in need of repair and the length of time to carry out these repairs, I was deeply concerned. Over recent years, the village has become something of a ‘rat run’ for cars and lorries wanting to bypass Scotch Corner.
“This concern proved to be unfounded. The work was carried out efficiently, with minimal disruption to village life and, unusually for these days, was completed within the allotted time. I would like to thank everyone concerned for this, and I cannot sufficiently praise the workmen and the end result which they achieved. My hope now is that their good work is not undermined by heavy vehicles and speeding cars passing through Gilling.”
Gilling West resident Stuart Belton, who is a street coordinator for Neighbourhood Watch and runs the local Speed Watch, said: “On behalf of the residents of Gilling, may I say what a superb job the contractor has done on the restoration work, which has been met with nothing but approval. The whole operation was carried out with the smallest amount of disruption, and with a speed and effectiveness that exceeded our expectations.”