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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Carlisle's Irishgate Bridge reopened after repairs

A bridge dogged by gremlins has reopened after its latest problems were resolved.

Irishgate bridge photo
Irishgate bridge in Carlisle

Irishgate Bridge, over Castle Way in Carlisle, has been shut since June when rust was discovered.

Access for pedestrians – using steps to get on to the crossing – was reopened earlier this week.

Work has been continuing to get the lifts that take people to the walkway operational again. That is expected to be completed by today.

Costs for the repairs needed have previously been pegged at £25,000.

While efforts to fix it have been taking place, Cumbria County Council has carried out about £15,000-worth of maintenance.

A county council spokesman said: “Our engineers completed the pressure testing on the repaired box girder joint last week and confirmed the damaged join is now air and watertight.

“We then completed the repainting and took down the scaffolding on Saturday.”

Carlisle City Council has since been servicing the lift and air conditioning unit.

The steel footbridge across Castle Way – 110ft long and weighing 60 tonnes with a 60ft mast as a feature – links Tullie House Museum to Carlisle Castle and Bitts Park.

It was erected at a cost of £750,000 in 2000 as part of the city’s Millennium Gateway scheme.

The bridge was closed last June after engineers found corrosion where supporting cables meet the bridge.

It thought that water penetrated the girder. Repeated freezing and thawing of this water worsened the damage.

Keir Northern, the company that built the bridge, will pay part of its repair costs.

The bridge has been plagued by problems since it opened.

Carlisle Civic Trust branded it “too modern” and “out of character” and argued that it was not needed. Lifts at either end were damaged by vandals in the early years, prompting the city council to spend £10,000 on repairs and £35,000 to make them vandal-proof.

The following year two American tourists had to be rescued by firefighters after the lift doors jammed.

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