A key route into Blackpool will be partially closed again this winter as work gets underway on a £11.4m upgrade of 10 bridges across Blackpool.
Seasiders Way will be closed between Bloomfield Road and Central car park for around five months while the Princess Street bridge is repaired at a cost of £1.4m.
If we don’t do this work Seasiders Way would have to close
Work will start on November 9 at the end of the Illuminations, and is due to be completed by Easter next year.
It is the first of 10 rail and road bridges which will be repaired over the next five years and which will include another key route - Plymouth Road.
The upgrade follows on from the closure of Yeadon Way, which feeds into Seasiders Way, last winter for resurfacing.
Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member responsible for roads, said: “We have to invest in our road network in order to make sure that residents and tourists can continue to use it in the future.
“If we don’t do this work then Seasiders Way would have to close, which would have a terrible impact on local businesses, so it is vitally important that we carry it out quickly and efficiently.
“As we did successfully with Yeadon Way, we are making sure that the work is done out of the tourist season and we will be pressing the contractors to make sure that it is completed before the start of the Easter holidays.
“Princess Street is the first of many bridges across the town that are in desperate need of repair to stop them from closing permanently, and over the next five years other strategic bridges will also be strengthened across the town. That will be a long project and I am keen that we keep all road users informed throughout the process.”
Diversions are expected to direct motorists along Parkinson Way and Central Drive.
Princess Street itself will also be closed. Funding totalling £11.4m has been assembled which includes £5.5m from the Department for Transport Challenge Fund, £3.8m from the Lancashire Enterprise Growth Deal and £2m from Blackpool Council’s own transport budget.
The other bridges in Blackpool due for repair are at Plymouth Road, Squires Gate Lane, Devonshire Road, Chapel Street, Seasiders Way. Rigby Road, Waterloo Road, Watson Road and Harrowside.
Yeadon Way was closed been November 2014 and Easter last year for a £3.6m upgrade to stabilise the road, resurface parts of it, secure embankments and improve land drainage.
Originally it had been proposed to close Yeadon Way from September 2014, but the start of work was delayed until the end of the Illuminations on November 10 after an outcry from hoteliers.
The Princess Street bridge was built in the late 1800s and originally supported the railway line between Blackpool South and Blackpool Central stations. It is believed the original structure was demolished around 1902 and rebuilt.
A planning application for the work has been submitted to the council, and says a structural assessment was carried out in 2011.
Inconvenient but our bridges can’t collapse
Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, and who is also a member of the Highways Consultative Forum, said: “Closing Seasiders Way is going to be inconvenient but we have to get these bridges done before they collapse.
“This year we have had much better consultation, because last year there were a lot of concerns at first when it appeared Yeadon Way could be closed during the Illuminations.
“It is all about communication - why it’s happening, when and where the diversions are.
“The fact we have got the money for this work is really good news, and as long as those in charge take into account the fact we are a tourist town and people need to move around and get to work, hopefully it will be OK.”