March footbridge closure threat removed as Fenland Council go out to tender for repair work as engineers give ‘all clear for normal use’

footbridge next to town bridge. and Acre road alley. Picture: Steve Williams.

footbridge next to town bridge. and Acre road alley. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A footbridge linking High Street with West End Park, March, looks to have been saved following agreement by Fenland Council to foot the bulk of the cost of repairs.

Councillors have been told that a £25,000 contribution from a private landlord who owns a small part of the footbridge is acceptable: the council is expected to find the rest.

And a deadline for closure - which has come and gone- has been removed.

“Structural engineers have carried out another safety inspection and given the all-clear for normal use of the footbridge to continue until Christmas,” said a Fenland Council spokesman.

“We are still looking at alternative ways of keeping it open within the available budget and are getting quotes from various different contractors.

“We hope to be in a position to give a further update by the end of this month.”

The council is putting out repair works to tender and once these have been evaluated improvements will get under way. Barges are expected to be used on the river to work on repairing the bridge.

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Earlier this summer councillors were told there was a collective shortfall of £81,000 between the £25,000 agreed by Snowmountain and the £72,900 originally set aside by Fenland Council.

Snowmountain has insisted throughout that Fenland Council stick to a legal conveyance signed in 1979 to maintain the town centre foot bridge.

The footbridge was built in 1978, altered in the 1980s, but no “significant improvements” have been made since, council leader John Cllr Clark said last month.

He added that two year ago there were concerns raised about the condition of the bridge when it was temporarily closed for repairs.

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