THE planned £300,000 replacement later this month of a damaged canal bridge in Skipton has fallen victim to ‘global supply issues’.

Work to replace Gawflat swing bridge, involving a massive crane, and road diversions, was due to take about three weeks, starting from May 10.

But, because of a delay in obtaining steel, the Canal and River Trust charity says the work has had to be put back for more than a month, and will now start on Monday, June 28.

The bridge, at the entrance to Aireville Park, which ‘swings’ open to allow boats to pass along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and ‘closed’ to give people, including schoolchildren, access to the park was damaged last year and proved difficult to repair.

The trust originally said the bridge would be locked in the ‘open’ position until it could be replaced, and that pedestrians and cars would have to cross at Brewery Lane, but following an outcry from residents and councillors, a combination of staff and volunteers have been on hand to help boaters open and close the bridge.

The footpath over the canal will now be closed from Monday, June 28 ahead of the old bridge being removed on Sunday, July 4. The new bridge will be installed on Sunday, July 11, and the bridge will be reopened on Thursday, July 15.

Carleton New Road will be closed from the train station end on Sundays July 4 and 11, but Engine Shed Lane and Sandylands sports fields will still be accessible via Carleton Road, while the work takes place.

Sean McGinley, director for Yorkshire and North East, said: “We apologise for inconvenience the closure will cause as we know this is an important pedestrian route for Skipton. We have tried to minimise the disruption as much as possible and give advance notice of the closures and the new schedule.

“We will need to close Carleton New Road on the sharp bend for two Sundays, which will allow a crane access to the site.”

The trust says it has been in direct contact with the local authorities and has received authorisation for the temporary road closure.

It has also been liaising with key stakeholders affected by the closure, including Skipton Academy, Ermysted’s Grammar, Skipton Girls High School and Craven College.

The new bridge weighs around 20 tonnes - about the equivalent of three African elephants - and is constructed of steel. It has been designed to be easier to open by boaters than the current bridge, and will last for decades to come, says the trust.

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