Skipton Swing Bridge to be replaced in May

Published: Friday, 12 March 2021

THE DAMAGED Gawflat Swing Bridge (175) in Skipton is to finally be replaced, but not until May.

The mechanism broke on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal bridge in early July last year, but luckily for boaters, it broke in the 'open' position, so though no pedestrians can use the bridge, boats are still able to navigate.

SkiptonFailureNo funds to repair

At the time is was undecided what to do with the bridge, but Canal & River Trust stated it had no funds, so it would have to wait until this year.

But being in the 'open' position there was pressure in the town for it to be in the 'closed' position to allow pedestrians, cyclists, and school and college students access, otherwise they have to detour over another canal bridge.

To overcome this, it has been kept working at certain times with the help of volunteers who have assisted boaters to open and close the bridge until repairs could be arranged.

Decided to replace the bridge

However, at a cost of £300,000 it has been decided to replace the bridge with a new one that weighs around 20 tonnes and is constructed of steel. It has been designed to be easier to open by boaters than the current bridge, and hopefully will last for decades to come.

The bridge will be closed for up to three weeks from Monday, 10th May, when preparation work begins. Then the old bridge will be removed on Sunday, 16th May, the new bridge installed on Sunday, 23rd May, and work completed by 28th May. 

During this time the bridge will be closed for walkers and cyclists but as yet there are no details of how it will affect navigation.