‘LONG overdue’ repair work on a rotting bridge - which was closed to the public due to its decaying wooden deck - is finally set to start after funding was secured for its refurbishment.
Bullhouse Bridge, which carries the Trans Pennine Trail across the A628 at Millhouse Green, has been closed since last May after inspectors cast doubt over its structural stability.
Although it was first brought in as a temporary measure while its panels and decking boards were replaced, the bridge has remain closed and Barnsley Council bosses said ‘no definitive date’ could be given for its reopening.
Costs rocketed and £24,000 secured through Section 106 funding - cash set aside by developers in Barnsley to compensate for loss of amenity to improve local areas - was deemed insufficient.
However, the Chronicle can reveal £150,000 in government money has been given to the project and work is set to begin early next year.
Coun Hannah Kitching, who represents the Penistone West ward, said: “There have been ongoing challenges with sourcing a suitable replacement bridge deck which will last for 30 to 50 years.
“The deck is deteriorating and needs replacement within the next year or so.
“While the diversion at Bullhouse has been unsatisfactory, there is no suitable trail user diversion at Hazelhead at all and this would result in the closure of the Trans Pennine Trail.
“Once replacements were sourced, the next delay has been funding.
“We managed to source some Section 106 funding locally but recently have been told that this was insufficient - more than £100,000 short.
“Some capital investment monies have been identified to pay for the replacement bridge decks and this is the most positive update we have had in a long while.”
To help address safety concerns a speed reduction for vehicles on Manchester Road - either side of the bridge - was enforced by the council, which cut the limit from 60mph to 40mph.
The Chronicle understands that this will remain in place - but Coun David Greenhough, who is also the chair of Penistone Area Council, said the work must happen soon.
“It’s been closed for far too long and while there’s been reasons for that, mainly its repair costs, we’re keen to see this issued solved as soon as possible,” he added.
“There has to be urgency because of the lack of safety for pedestrians using the trail’s diversion.
“However, it is a positive step that funding has been secured and I’m looking forward to the work starting.”