The Department of Infrastructure is continuing to make good progress on the renovation works to Ramsey Swing Bridge, although the bridge will not be open for vehicular access during Ramsey Sprint.
During Phase 1 of the project in February, the Ports Division experienced a setback when it was discovered that the 20 iron wheels within the bridge were one inch under size and needed to be sent off-Island to be re-engineered to the original design specification.
As a result of this delay, the Ports Division gave an early indication that the bridge was not likely to be rebuilt in time for the Ramsey Sprint on Tuesday 3 June.
There are two phases of work on the bridge, with Phase 2 involving the painting of the whole bridge and the installation of new lighting. Ordinarily this would have closed the bridge for a further 6 months. However, with the delay arising from the re-engineering of the iron wheels, it was decided to combine the Phase 1 and Phase 2 works in an effort to make up some time.
Director of Ports Ann Reynolds explained: ‘The delay from having to send the iron wheels to the UK for re-engineering, due to a lack of specialist equipment on Island was a blow. Therefore in order to try to get the overall project done more quickly, we have started Phase 2 and we expect the whole project to be completed by early September.’
She added: ‘Whilst the wheels are back and we have swung the bridge to test out the mechanical components, the safe rebuild of the whole bridge cannot be done in time to allow vehicles to use the bridge during the TT, which I very much regret. However, I understand that it would be of some advantage to the Sprint organisers if the bridge could be opened for pedestrian use during the Sprint itself, and therefore we will be closing (swinging) the bridge at around 1pm on Monday 2nd June so that it will be available for pedestrians only during 9am to 6pm for Tuesday 3rd June (Ramsey Sprint Day) and then swung open by 3pm on Wednesday.’
Member for the Ports Division, Ramsey MHK Leonard Singer, said: ‘Naturally I had hoped the bridge would have been sufficiently rebuilt in order to operate fully for Ramsey Sprint Day, however it’s not to be. The bridge can swing, but not under its own power and it cannot be locked in position, although a safe temporary fix will be found for the Sprint Day. The final works will be the reconstruction of the central stone pier, before the completion of the painting and lighting.’