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Planned Maintenance Arrangements For Poole's Lifting Bridges

To keep Poole's two lifting bridges operating efficiently and effectively in the long term, planned maintenance arrangements have been unanimously supported by Borough of Poole's Transportation Advisory Group.

The plans involve annual closures of each bridge for up to one week each for pre-planned, essential maintenance works.

The Twin Sails Bridge will close for up to one week in March or April with Poole Bridge closing in September.

Members have recommended that the Portfolio Holder approves a planned maintenance approach as:
 
*   both bridges requires regular essential maintenance to reduce the risk of breakdowns, minimise the risk of expensive repairs and maintain public safety
*   it is becoming increasingly expensive to undertake work overnight
*   external suppliers who carry out maintenance of the control systems, hydraulics and high voltage electrical equipment can be booked in advance
*   working in March or April and September avoids winter weather conditions which can delay works taking place
*   one bridge will still be available for road users

Julian McLaughlin, Head of Transportation Services, Borough of Poole, said: "The bridges are an important part of our road network so it is essential we develop sensible plans to ensure they are fit for purpose for many generations to come. With approximately 5,000 bridge lifts and 17,000 boat movements a year, plus 20,000 vehicles using the bridges every day we reduce the risk of breakdowns and help minimise the disruption to local people by undertaking preventative maintenance in a planned way. In the past residents would have been diverted around Holes Bay when we undertook maintenance on Poole Bridge but now we have two bridges there will always be one bridge available, which avoids these diversions."

"The planned maintenance arrangements will be implemented prior to the first annual closure in March or April 2014, subject to the decision being made by the Portfolio Holder."

Cllr Ian Potter, Chairman of the Transportation Advisory Group, Borough of Poole, said: "Members considered the recommendations of officers very carefully and while we know that closing one of Poole's bridges is not ideal, we also recognised how important it was to keep our bridges maintained to a high standard to ensure maximum reliability and performance.

"We hope that by planning the closures outside of peak times in the year we will be able to minimise disruption to residents who will always have one bridge available."