Calls for safer bridge access

Elvington/Sutton Bridge
Elvington/Sutton Bridge

THE weight restriction on Sutton Bridge will be lifted next week, but the dispute over the bridge’s safety goes on.

The grade II listed bridge, situated between Sutton-on-Derwent and Elvington, has a 7.5 tonne maximum limit which is due to be lifted on Monday, 12 March.

The restriction was imposed in September 2010 after an HGV smashed into the side of it months earlier, causing extensive damage and putting it out of action while repair work took place.

East Riding Council’s overview and scrutiny committee decided last July that the restriction will not be renewed when it expires on Monday.

However, some residents in Sutton-on-Derwent are concerned about the number of HGVs that will be travelling over the bridge and through their village after the restriction has been lifted.

Councillor Peter Kirby, chairman of Sutton-on-Derwent Parish Council, said: “You have 42 tonne articulated lorries mixed up with pedestrians and cyclists on a 12-foot wide bridge. That’s what we are concerned about.

“There will be even more when the ban is lifted. A lot of vehicles do use the diversion route.”

Coun Kirby says Sutton-on-Derwent Parish Council is still pushing for a footbridge to be built to make it safe for people to get from one side of the River Derwent to the other. However, he stressed that there a number of stumbling blocks to overcome.

He said: “A footbridge is one thing we are trying to push for.

“It’s going to cost a lot of money if it happens. Hundreds of thousands of pounds. There are all sorts of snags in the way.”

Another villager who is unhappy with East Riding Council lifting the restriction is Ann Clarke, of Wold Croft.

According to Mrs Clarke, the council has “missed an opportunity to prevent this village, like so many thousands of other similar small communities throughout the country, from being sacrificed to the misery of constant heavier and heavier vehicles destroying our quality of life.”

She also believes that if HGVs are not permanently prevented from crossing the bridge then a footbridge should be built.

“If there is no hope of us having the bridge closed to heavy goods vehicles then clearly a footbridge is the only answer,” Mrs Clarke said.

“I still feel very strongly the little roads through villages like this are not a place for these giant vehicles.”

East Riding Council has responded by stating that the weight limit was only imposed to allow repair work to take place.

A spokesperson for the council said: “There’s an element of confusion. What the limit was put on for was so we could repair the bridge after it had been clouted by a HGV.

“That was the main reason for it being put on.

“The work was done and completed and it got to the point where a decision had to be made, where something had to happen. We either had to renew it or didn’t.

“We consulted local parishes and the decision was not to renew it.”