Leeds Bridge completion gives a breath of fresh Aire for an historic landmark
Local businesses, representatives from The Leeds Civic Trust and Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, Councillor Lisa Mulherin marked the completion of works with a trip on the River Aire to marvel at the restoration of one of the city centre’s most famous bridges.
Leeds Bridge, built in 1873, required essential maintenance works to strengthen the structure to allow buses to continue to use the route into and out of the city centre. Included in the works were the cleaning and repainting of existing paintwork on the parapets and structure in order to restore it to its former glory and also protect the ironwork from deteriorating.
The wrought and cast iron structure is famous for being the subject of some of the world’s first moving images, by Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince. The film, entitled ‘Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge’, was taken from Hicks the Ironmongers, now above Morgan’s Lettings, in October 1888.
The eighteen-month project, led by Leeds City Council’s bridges team, with assistance from engineering partners WSP, the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency, has allowed the Grade-II listed bridge to continue to be a crucial route for public transport into the city.
Contractors A E Yates Ltd started work on site in January 2018 with the latter stages of work focusing on repainting the structure, including hand-painting 5,200 individual rosette details.
Traffic restrictions in place during construction works were lifted in December 2018 with the bridge finally coming to completion this month.
Leeds City Council's executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, Councillor Lisa Mulherin, said:
“Thanks go to affected local businesses and the Leeds public for their patience over the duration of these works. The maintenance, repair and strengthening to Leeds Bridge was essential in order to allow the structure to continue to play a key role in Leeds’ travel network. The standard of repainting work and respect shown to the historic significance of this beautiful bridge have given it a new lease of life whilst also preserving it for many years to come. Praise was given to the teams involved in the work from all the partner agencies that took part in its re-opening; from the Canal & River Trust to local businesses.”