Bridge will bring villages back together

Fall Lane Railway Bridge, East Ardsley.

Fall Lane Railway Bridge, East Ardsley.

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Plans to repair a bridge which has caused disruption to public transport for five years have been given the go-ahead by transport bosses

Campaigners have fought for repairs to the Fall Lane bridge in East Ardsley, a main route into the village, since a three-tonne weight restriction was put in place as a temporary measure after an inspection in 2010.

It will now be improved as part of a new agreement between Leeds City Council and Network Rail.

Bin collection vehicles and buses going to East Ardsley and Thorpe currently have to be diverted around the bridge because of the weight restriction.

Coun Jack Dunn, who has campaigned for repairs since 2010, said: “I’m delighted and if this comes to fruition it will bring the two communities of Thorpe and East Ardsley back together. The bridge is a key route into East Ardsley and since the weight restriction was put in place it has left people isolated in the villages.

“It’s a poor service at the moment but companies can’t improve it because of the bridge.

“We have been campaigning for this for five years. The whole structure of the bridge was found to be rotting away and the weight restriction was meant to be temporary.”

Coun Dunn said buses now have to divert around the bridge from Bradford Road and turn around in Moor Knoll Lane before heading towards Thorpe.

A series of public meetings were held with representatives from Network Rail and then-MP Ed Balls, last year after concerns were raised about plans for repairs on the bridge.

A previous inspection at the bridge showed structural repairs were required.

The council said it will jointly fund improvements with Network Rail.

After design work is complete, work is due to start on the site next year.

Coun Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said he was glad improvements had been agreed.

He said: “Residents in this area have already had to wait a long time for improvements and I am glad that this has finally taken a big step forward.

“Given the current financial circumstances we were concerned that this work may be delayed for a long time, so it is really good that it looks set to start soon.

“I hope that we will be able to continue working productively with Network Rail in order to ensure that work now takes place.”

A temporary three-tonne weight restriction had been put in place in 2010 after an inspection.

Public meetings were held in 2011 and 2014 with transport bosses.