Work soon to repair lorry damage to ancient bridge

WORK to repair �12,000 of damage caused to St Ives’s mediaeval bridge by a reversing lorry last September is expected to start in the next couple of months.

Cambridgeshire County Council, which owns the Grade I-listed scheduled ancient monument, said the vehicle that displaced a corner pillar had never been identified, even though Bridge Street is covered by Huntingdonshire District Council’s CCTV cameras.

English Heritage has agreed to the proposed work, which requires an electricity cable to be moved, but CCC is still waiting for the Environment Agency to agree to scaffolding being erected over part of the waterway.

The bridge will not need to be closed to such traffic as is allowed to use it while the work is carried out. The recent closure has been for unconnected work on a gas main.

It is not the only repair work the county council will be doing in the area. It is about to start on the 26-week third phase of a programme to protect 200-year-old Grade II*-listed flood arches on the old approach road to St Ives.

The council has committed itself to repairing at least five of the 55 arches on the bridge in each financial year for the next decade to protect the ancient bridge, which was once a major approach to the town centre.

From April 2, workmen will move in to start the latest phase of the repair work which will see work carried out on 16 arches at a cost of �270,000.

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“The arches have deteriorated and are now in need of refurbishment to the brickwork and mortar joints,” a spokesman said.

“The materials and working methods needed approval from the district council and English Heritage. The completion of the latest phase of work will mean that 29 arches have been repaired over the last three years.”

Pedestrians and vehicles will be unaffected by the work, which will be carried out from scaffolding alongside the structure. A full ecological survey has been carried out and measures put in place to protect species living around the work site, the council added.