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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Locals fear bridge in danger of collapse

FEARS are growing that a busy Egremont road bridge just a short distance from the house which collapsed into a fast-flowing river could now also be in danger, putting lives at risk.

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flashback: The collapsed house beside the Ehen in August

Old Bridge spans the River Ehen and carries heavy volumes of traffic in and out of Egremont town centre.

On September 6 – during a scheduled road closure and 10 days after the back of four-storey Mill House fell into the river – divers went in to strengthen the bridge and to check the foundations of other Vale View homes.

A collapsed weir which controls the water flow has been blamed for damaging the foundations of the house which was quickly demolished, leaving the Environment Agency to install temporary flood defences. But Vale View residents now fear the temporary measures – big sandstone blocks to divert the water flow away from the row of houses – will break down.

Spokesman Malcolm Mounsey, who lives two doors away from the collapsed Mill House, told The Whitehaven News: “It’s another accident waiting to happen – just like Mill House. We were left high and dry and it seems the same is happening over the bridge.

“If that bridge falls in or sinks it’s obvious there will be a danger to traffic and people’s lives.

“Mark my words, the bridge is at risk and everybody in Egremont, not just people living near it, should be concerned.

“Those flood defence measures are only temporary, they won’t hold. When they go, when there’s another big surge of water, it will wash out the sandstone and we’ll will get major scouring of the bridge. It is only a matter of time.

“We warned about the state of Hartley’s Weir and look what happened weeks later.”

In a statement the Environment Agency said: “These temporary defences maintain the level of flood protection that existed prior to the building collapse and will be in place until a permanent solution is implemented.

“We have installed or placed sandstone blocks to temporarily plug the gap in the weir directing the flow of water away from nearby properties. This temporary plug is intended to buy local riverside property owners some breathing space in which to consider their options for protecting their homes from future erosion.

“Temporary flood defences have also been placed along the river where the building collapsed in the form of large dumpy bags filled with sand, and a second line of defence has been constructed around the Mill House site in the form of concrete barriers.”

The Environment Agency stressed: “Despite not having responsibility for the weir following its partial collapse in August, Copeland Council and the Environment Agency stepped in to support the local community.”

Mr Mounsey claimed that the concrete bags used to strengthen the bridge were no more than temporary and would not be adequate protection. “At the moment the water flow is slower but when there’s a big flood, and it’s happening regularly, the whole of the embankment will be scoured straight through to the bridge. Nobody really realises how fast the water can travel but when Hartley’s Weir went and Mill House collapsed the speed of it was frightening.”

The county council says that anyone with concerns can contact them.

FLOOD victims in Egremont have been offered help by the British Red Cross to see what help its volunteers can give to overcome problems and address issues. Vale View residents are included.

It’s being done on behalf of Copeland Council and nuclear funded by Sellafield Ltd/NMP.

Have your say

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Now let's see what happens, whether anybody actually takes notice and takes remedial action, or whether the advice is ignored and the bridge falls into the river.

Lorra lorra traffic goes over that bridge just in case nobody had noticed. Thx

Posted by Derek on 29 November 2012 at 12:35

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