The Ramsey’s swingbridge closed yesterday (Monday) for an estimated 16 weeks, while refurbishment work is carried out by the Department of Infrastructure.
Due to the nature, extent and location of the works, the 120-year-old bridge will be lifted off of the central supporting pier for the duration of the closure, meaning it will be closed to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic throughout.
In July the department requested Tynwald approval for £750,000 of ‘urgent repairs’, to ‘secure the future of the iconic bridge’, according to Infrastructure Minister David Cretney MHK.
Straddling the Sulby River, the Victorian bridge was built in 1892, and though it has been partially refurbished and repaired over the years, last year Mr Cretney drew attention to ‘significant damage’ caused by misalignment, warning that ultimately the mechanism could fail altogether.
The scheme will include a major overhaul of the main turning mechanism and bearings.
Mr Cretney said: ‘Failure to undertake this work now will result in its continued deterioration and consequent increased costs.
‘Given the iconic nature and location of the bridge, we feel that undertaking a refurbishment scheme would be much preferred to having to take the bridge permanently out of operation following a major failure.’