‘Century-long work’ lasts for two years

Guy Smith on Spa Bridge. 120234a
Guy Smith on Spa Bridge. 120234a

CRACKS have appeared on the surface of Scarborough’s Spa Bridge – less than two years after a £700,000 restoration which was to last into the next century.

The new non-slip walkway surface is now blighted with large “unsightly” cracks splintering across the path.

This comes despite a costly restoration project which saw the 184-year-old landmark close for five months.

Speaking when the bridge reopened in April 2010, North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for highways John Fort told the Evening News the construction work would last well into the next century, and described the restoration as “great value for money”.

However less than two years down the line, concerns are already being raised about the bridge’s new surface.

Former Scarborough cllr Guy Smith has raised fears about water leaking into the cracks, and what the surface will look like over coming years if no further work is carried out.

He said: “When they first finished the bridge in 2010 the surface looked quite nice, but it is all splitting now.

“I am just worried that if water seeps in to these cracks, what damage could that do to the structure and timbers that lie underneath.

“It is also unsightly, and you wouldn’t expect it to look like this after such a short space of time.

“If it looks like this now, what is it going to look like in five years.

“Also if it gets any worse people who are unsteady on their feet could easily trip.”

In response to Mr Smith’s queries a spokesperson for North Yorkshire County Council, the authority responsible for carrying out the work, said the bridge is inspected regularly.

They said: “When the bridge first opened thermal cracking did appear on the surface that was put down.

“We filled in these crack with an expanding material at that point.

“There was no structural damage and that infill meant the surface was perfectly safe.

“We have seen nothing since then to suggest any different.”

Spa Bridge Fact File

- The Spa Bridge first opened to members of the public on June 19, 1827.

- Its opening ceremony, which saw a sailor being driven over the bridge standing on top of a horse-drawn mail cart and the firing of guns, attracted 10,000 people.

- Initially, people that wanted to use the bridge had to pay a toll. It would remain in place until 1951 when the council purchased the bridge from the Spa Company for £22,500.

- In 1880, the bridge deck was widened from 13.5ft to 23ft to allow extra pedestrian traffic.

- The bridge is 414ft long 13.5ft wide, and crosses the valley at a height of approximately 75ft.

- The latest restoration work was required because the edge timers, which were spliced to the main support, were sagging.