A £2m project to build a replacement footbridge in Kendal has reached another significant milestone in its delivery.
Cumbria County Council has appointed Story Contracting Ltd to carry out the construction of the new bridge across the River Kent at Gooseholme in Kendal. The new footbridge will replace the old structure damaged beyond repair during Storm Desmond.
The project will deliver a new single span bridge which will be fully accessible to all bridge users and wider than the original footbridge to provide shared access for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users, said the council. The County Council is delivering the £2m bridge project and the scheme will be jointly funded by Cumbria County Council, the Environment Agency, South Lakeland District Council and Sustrans.
The new bridge will be 3.5m wide and has been designed to improve the flood resilience of the structure by taking away the old piers and raising the deck above the river flood level as part of the Environment Agency’s ongoing Flood Risk Management Scheme for Kendal
Preparatory works are due to start in Summer 2021 and it is anticipated the construction of the bridge will be completed by early next year.
Welcoming the award of contract, Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport said: “I’m delighted that we have reached this important milestone. The new bridge will re-connect two sections of Common Land at New Road and Gooseholme Park in Kendal and will have a key role to play in the town’s cycling and walking infrastructure.”
Cllr Peter Thornton, Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council and Local Member, said: “This is brilliant news for Kendal and I very much look forward to seeing construction work starting on the new bridge. Gooseholme footbridge will form a vital part of the town’s pedestrian and cycleway route network, promoting Active Travel in Kendal which is healthier and more environmentally-friendly. It’s taken us a while to get to this point but I believe the new bridge will be well worth the wait and a fantastic asset for Kendal.”
Councillor Jonathan Brook, Leader of South Lakeland District Council, said: “South Lakeland District Council is delighted that work is due to start on the replacement Gooseholme footbridge. The council’s Cabinet has earmarked a contribution of £75,000 towards the Cumbria County Council project, using money from our Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). CIL funding is used to support key infrastructure schemes.
“The much anticipated new bridge, will once again link the popular common land areas at New Road and Gooseholme. The design of the new bridge gives the added benefit of improved access and connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users.’’
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said, “The work being planned for Gooseholme Footbridge is a great example of how the Environment Agency, Cumbria County Council and South Lakeland District Council are all coming together to protect and improve the town of Kendal.
“Over the coming years, we can expect to see warmer wetter winters across our region and the work that the Environment Agency and partners are undertaking in Kendal to increase flood protection to homes and businesses is complemented by the works on Gooseholme Footbridge; its flood resilient design will go some way in protecting the town even further.”
Paul Adams, Sustrans Network Development Manager said: “Sustrans is delighted to support Cumbria County Council in creating this fully accessible car-free link to Kendal town centre. It also repairs a broken link in the National Cycle Network (NCN) route 6 which is the mainline route between Lancaster and Carlisle via all the major towns in Lakeland.
“This forms part of our ongoing mission to fix and grow the NCN as outlined in the 2018 ‘Paths for Everyone’ report which followed a comprehensive audit of the network’s weaknesses.
“Our long term aim is to improve the network and then grow it, making it accessible for everyone. That means firstly repairing or realigning sub-standard sections to meet current standards, then planning new routes which help more people walk and cycle their everyday journeys. If more people travel by foot or cycle we can help tackle the climate crisis, improve air quality and increase physical activity and health.”
Emma Porter, Managing Director, Story Contracting Ltd, said: “Story Contracting are delighted to be given the opportunity to deliver this significant infrastructure project in Kendal. We have a long standing relationship with Cumbria County Council and together with our valued local supply chain, we look forward to successfully delivering another key project for the county.”
A replacement structure is needed because the old Gooseholme footbridge was one of hundreds of bridges in Cumbria damaged or destroyed by Storm Desmond in December 2015.