IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch

23 March 2024

The new Tram Bridge will be delivered by Preston City Council through its £20m Levelling Up funding allocation from the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities, together with funding from Lancashire County Council. Lancashire County Council is project managing and supporting the project working closely with Eric Wright Civil Engineering on the design and construction of the bridge.

The detailed design work for the look and structure of the bridge is in the final stages of development including the modelling of the bridge over the river flow and surrounding landscape. It has been a long process to get to this stage, with various designs being considered and rejected by the project technical team due to the specific requirements and challenges of the site.

The total investment of the bridge is c.£6.6m and a large proportion is spent with local contractors and suppliers. A series of environmental assessments, ground investigations and topographical surveys have now all been completed. The team is also consulting with the Environment Agency, Marine Management Organisation and project ecologists, to ensure that the environmental impacts of the new bridge are considered fully throughout the construction, and the lifetime of the bridge – projected to be 120 years.

The Lancaster Canal Tramroad, also known as the Walton Summit Tramway or the Old Tram Road, was a British plateway, completed in 1803, to link the north and south ends of the Lancaster Canal across the Ribble valley, pending completion of the canal, but the canal link was never constructed. In February 2019, the tram bridge was closed when an inspection revealed cracks putting the bridge at risk of collapse, and there were fears that it would never re-open.

[The photo shows the new bridge design – from Preston City Council]