Work has started to repair defects to the road surface of the Twin Sails Bridge.
Contractors Hochtief (UK) Construction Ltd have removed all the road surfacing on the two lifting leaves of the bridge in preparation for the laying of a new road surface next week. A sub-layer of waterproofing material protecting the bridge's steelwork has also been removed and is being replaced over the next few days ahead of the resurfacing works.
If the remedial work, which is weather dependent, goes according to schedule, it is currently estimated that the Twin Sails Bridge will open to traffic in early April.
The full opening of the Twin Sails Bridge to traffic was postponed after final load testing revealed defects in a small section of road surface on both lifting leaves. An investigation to establish the exact cause of the defect is ongoing.
Jim Bright, Strategic Director, Borough of Poole, said: "Once the defect was revealed we agreed with our contractors that the best and immediate course of action should be to remove and replace all the road surface on the lifting sections of the bridge. This surfacing and a layer of waterproofing beneath it has now been removed. Ramboll, who lead the bridge design team, have come forward with a revised solution for the road surfacing.
"Following extensive discussions and input from independent experts from the Transport Research Laboratory, we've agreed a new specification that will see the road surface laid in a single layer rather than in multiple layers as it was originally set down. This eliminates the layer where the defect was observed. Our contractors are already putting in place arrangements to carry out this resurfacing work early next week, weather permitting.
"The bridge will open to traffic as soon as the council is fully satisfied that the outstanding work has been successfully completed. It is too early to give a definitive date but we are cautiously optimistic that the Twin Sails Bridge will open to traffic in early April."
Subject to weather conditions, work to resurface the lifting sections of the bridge will start on the evening of Monday 26 March. Poole Harbour Commissioners have agreed to a request to cancel a scheduled lift of the Twin Sails Bridge at 9.15pm on this date so the contractors can perform this work.