Whitby Swing Bridge to be closed for pavements to be widened to relieve pressure on notorious bottleneck

Work will commence at the end of the summer to relieve congestion on the notoriously busy Whitby Swing Bridge.
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North Yorkshire Council has already implemented closures to cars during peak tourist season to improve pedestrian safety on the bridge, which links the old and new towns.

Now there will be a complete closure to all foot and vehicle traffic in October to allow pavements to be widened and maintenance work to be completed.

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The existing road surface will be removed down to the steel deck, and waterproofing, painting and resurfacing work will then take place.

Whitby Swing BridgeWhitby Swing Bridge
Whitby Swing Bridge

The new design of the bridge’s footpaths provides extra capacity for pedestrians.

In recent years the Swing Bridge has also suffered from mechanical failures. One of the breakdowns, in December 2021, trapped the port’s fishing fleet in the harbour. The previous summer, it got stuck in the ‘up’ position and replacement buses had to be used to ferry visitors to attractions such as Whitby Abbey.

Coun Keane Duncan said: “We are also widening the footpaths to improve public safety during weekends and summer holidays when the bridge can get very crowded.

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“These upcoming works will not only future-proof the bridge, but enhance the experience of glorious Whitby for both visitors and locals.”

The two-week programme of repairs begins on October 2 and lasts for two weeks. A shuttle bus will be provided. The bridge will remain in the up position to allow marine traffic to access the harbour.

Coun Neil Swannick, who represents Whitby Streonshalh, added: “The upcoming works will have significant benefits for the historic bridge, which requires an extensive refurbishment to ensure the opening mechanism can continue to operate on a daily basis.

“Although there is never a good time to carry out such works, we have timed them outside of the busy tourist season to minimise disruption as much as possible.

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“We are urging the public to familiarise themselves with the diversion routes ahead of travelling, and we will keep them updated if changes to the schedule are necessary.”

The bridge was built in 1908 to connect the eastern and western parts of the port.