The historic Leeds Bridge will reopen before Christmas to two-way traffic as essential maintenance works near completion.
From Friday 21 December works necessary to strengthen the bridge will be completed. Bridge End over the River Aire by The Calls in the city centre will then reopen to two-way traffic.
The works have completed ahead of the recent published date (14 January) because of fair weather and good progress made by the contractor.
The Leeds City Council managed project put traffic restrictions in place from January 2018, meaning there’s been no access over the bridge for most northbound traffic (heading towards the city centre) for about a year.
In the new year, scaffolding and sheeting will be erected over parts of the bridge to enable painting work to begin on the parapets and sides of the bridge. This will improve the bridge’s appearance and protect the almost 150 year old ironwork from deteriorating. This work is planned to be fully completed by April 2019.
Completed in 1873, the grade II-listed Leeds Bridge is made of wrought and cast iron, and the work has seen old concrete above the original ironwork deck removed and replaced with new stronger steel-reinforced concrete. Where needed, localised repairs are being made to the ironwork before the bridge is completely cleaned and repainted.
The bridge is also famous for being the location in 1888 of what is considered some of the world’s first-ever recorded moving film footage, when Louis Le Prince filmed traffic travelling across it.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council's executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:
“Thanks to the Leeds public for your patience over the year, allowing for the essential maintenance, repair and strengthening to Leeds Bridge to take place. This has been a challenging project to preserve one of our most historic city assets, while making all efforts to keep disruption to a minimum. The bridge’s function is now secured in making access in and out of the city for years to come.”
Consultation has been carried out on the project with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and First Bus Leeds, with the local businesses being regularly informed of progress.