Cumbria County Council resumes Pooley Bridge construction work

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Cumbria County Council’s replacement bridge project at Pooley Bridge is set to resume today (20 April), following a review of the authority’s construction schemes in response to the coronavirus outbreak

Works on the Pooley Bridge scheme were temporarily suspended on 27 March to support social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The construction industry has since received direction on this issue from the Government, which has confirmed work at construction sites can continue provided enhanced operating procedures are in place.

In light of this guidance, the county council has reviewed a number of key strategic construction sites to identify if works can resume safely in line with the new procedures and Public Health England guidance.

Eric Wright Civil Engineering (EWCE), the main contractor on the Pooley Bridge project, has confirmed they can resume works on the replacement bridge following guidance from the Construction Leadership Council.

Challenging times for UK economy

Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is both a health and economic crisis. We are working with our main contractors to support local economic activity where it is safe to do so.

“The clear guidance from government means that some projects like the new Pooley Bridge project, can safely resume with necessary measures put in place by EWCE to protect the workforce and community.

“These are truly exceptional circumstances and we will be closely monitoring all construction activity to ensure government guidance is strictly followed. The health, safety and wellbeing of our residents, communities and contractor workforce are of paramount importance to us.”

Councillor Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “These are seriously challenging times for our UK economy and it’s vital where organisations are able to work safely and adhere to the government guidelines then they should continue to do so.

“I welcome this further clarification from Government which supports the construction industry and other sectors to continue to work – providing they are able to keep their workforce and the public safe at the same time.”

Stringent health and safety measures

Commenting on behalf of Eric Wright Civil Engineering, managing director, Diane Bourne, added: “The welfare and safety of our staff and contractors is of paramount importance.

“Working in partnership with Cumbria County Council, we have been following Public Health England’s advice and following official guidance on safe Site Operating Procedures including social distancing and safe working, also reducing the number of people on site at any one time and resequencing activities where required to ensure the site team can work as safely as possible.

“We have introduced stringent health and safety measures across site, including undertaking a programme of rigorous daily cleaning, installation of new and additional wash facilities, safe distancing measures in welfare areas and staggered breaks.

“We are focusing on activities which can be undertaken safely and in line with government guidance.”

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