The swing bridge at Cawood, between Naburn and Selby is to undergo a major refurbishment of its hydraulic, mechanical, electrical and control systems.

Councillors Andrew Lee and Don Mackenzie on the bridge last year after strengthening and repainting work

The bridge has been maintained over the years but some of the parts and components have come to the end of their working life and are obsolete, so the County Council has taken the decision to carry out a £500,000 upgrade to the bridge to avoid a major breakdown. The last major upgrade was 36 years ago and it is now time to carry another.

From 8 October there will be two weeks of preparatory work during which the road will remain open, but from 22 October it will be closed to motor vehicles and river traffic for four weeks. A diversion will be in place, but pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross the bridge at all times during the work.

A drop-in session for residents and road users will be arranged in September, when bridge engineers, contractors and highways officials will be available to discuss the scheme.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, said: “The upgrade work will bring the bridge up to date with modern equipment, parts and technology. The hydraulic bridge motor and the bridge operating software have come to the end of their working life.

“Teeth have been found broken off the gear ring and inspections of the bridge found a problem with the gearbox mountings, which required an immediate temporary repair. The motor drives the bridge when it opens and shuts and we have been advised to renew the gearboxes, fixings and the gear ring track alongside the other upgrades.

“The bridge is currently running in emergency mode. Moving the undamaged sections of the gear ring have allowed this, although any over swing of the bridge will result in it getting stuck open to the river and it will be a lengthy process to recover the bridge back to allow road traffic to cross.’’

County Councillor Andrew Lee, who represents Cawood and Saxton, said: “The scheme has been planned to take place at this time of year as the bridge will be unable to swing while the upgrade is taking place. We could not do the work in the summer due to river traffic and the time chosen does cover a half-term week school holiday.

“The council has been working closely with the contractors and engineers involved in the scheme to make sure it is programmed to have the least impact to vehicles and the shortest closure achievable. We would like to thank everyone in advance for their patience while this vital operation is carried out.’’

This story was published 10 August 2018