Whitby Swing Bridge - county council outlines closure management plans ahead of 2022 summer season in town

In response to public feedback from the experimental swing bridge closure scheme, North Yorkshire County Council says it is is using its powers to implement closures for 2022 to support the economy and tourism in the town.

By Duncan Atkins
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 3:23 pm
Whitby Swing Bridge.
Whitby Swing Bridge.

Karl Battersby, Corporate Director for Business and Environmental Services, said: “The closure of the swing bridge has significant safety benefits as we all know how busy the seafront can get at peak holiday times.

“We understand the importance of allowing traffic over the swing bridge, connecting the east and west sides of Whitby, but this has to be balanced with the needs of pedestrians at busy times of the day.

"We hope this decision will be welcomed and the benefits felt once more.”

This follows recent criticism from Whitby Town Council, which called on the county to "better plan" its management of the bridge ahead the summer season.

The town council said other dates such as Whitby Goth weekend should be included and extra signs and warnings put up and publicised to help tourists navigate road closures.

In response to that, the county council says that based on visitor numbers in previous years, it is not planning to close the bridge for April's Goth Weekend, but would monitor the situation and close it if conditions changed.

The county's measures will begin on Easter weekend and be in place on all bank holiday weekends including for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and all weekends in the school holidays between May and October.

The Swing Bridge will be closed to vehicles between 10.30am and 4pm, with an exemption for buses and vehicles responding to an emergency call.

On weekends and bank holidays over the school summer holidays, local highways teams may decide to cancel the closure if the weather forecast is poor.

On Friday March 25, a meeting of North Yorkshire’s Business and Environmental Services Executive members will look to approve a £380,000 painting and maintenance scheme on the Swing Bridge.

Mr Battersby said: “We have a commitment to investing in the Swing Bridge which undergoes regular inspections and upgrades.

“Repainting is important for preservation and it has been ten years since it was last carried out.

"During extended periods of very warm weather the bridge expands and seizes in the shut position – preventing boats from leaving or entering the harbour.

“We plan to use a lighter coloured surfacing to keep it at lower temperatures.”

Surfacing work is due to be carried out before the 2022 summer holidays and repainting in spring/summer 2023.

A trial closure of Whitby Swing Bridge was introduced last year on weekends, bank holidays and busy periods.

The county council recently said the experimental traffic scheme was not going to be made permanent, following feedback on the scheme.