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Archive August 23-31 2000

The scaffolding being erected so work can begin on stabilising the bridge.

The true extent of the damage can easily be seen here, the undercut is as far as the middle of the road above.

The loose rubble is to be sprayed with concrete to prevent any further falls. This will then make it safe for the piling operation to begin next week.

LEFT - The steel arch supports with wedges and wooden blocks. these will prevent the bridge from collapsing and allow detailed analysis of the structure.

Left - The cavity in the centre of the middle pier that has caused much interest.

The cavity was used for placing explosives during the war, in the event that the bridge had to be destroyed. Inside there is what appears to be a rotten wooden box covered with a corrugated metal covering. The space inside appears to be full of sand.

NYCC Press Release 23-08-00


THE detailed reconstruction of Mercury Bridge's damaged central pier will start next week.

Now that the bridge has a temporary support in place engineers have been able to get on the structure to carry out a detailed assessment of the repairs needed.

A meeting of the principal group involved in the reconstruction of the listed structure has been told that the temporary support work was completed ahead of schedule. Piling from the top of the bridge will start after the Bank Holiday to strengthen the central pier. This will positively start the rebuilding process now the bridge is fully supported. Once that has been completed repairs will start to the bottom of the pier where it sits in the river.

Mike Moore, North Yorkshire's director of environmental services, said: "We are still on target to have the bridge fully reopened to traffic in December. Despite recent Press criticism I hope that everyone interested in this bridge realises that everything possible is being done to get it open as quickly as possible. To make sure that we have kept to our programme extended working hours have been put in at critical stages. This will continue as necessary and when working conditions permit. Safety has to be paramount. We couldn't just have steamed in and started the repair work without getting support for the bridge from underneath. That couldn't be done overnight. You can't just buy that kind of material 'off the shelf'. A lot of design work and site preparations had to be completed before the engineering team could move in and start the repairs."

While piling of the central pier is carried out there will be further excavation work to the dry arches on either side. This will allow the river to flow freely in the event of further flooding.

Contact: Mike Moore at County Hall, ext 2124

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