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Council set to opt for cheaper River Trent footbridge repairs after price soars by £200,000

Councillors will be asked to authorise cheaper maintenance work for a Newark footbridge after the first plan becomes too expensive.

The Jubilee Footbridge is one of the main pedestrian crossings over the River Trent, close to Newark Castle railway station.

Newark and Sherwood District councillors were told in 2023 that the bridge is unlikely to pass its next inspection without repairs.

They had initially hoped to replace the ramp’s deck boards with steel trays filled with a road surfacing material, which have an estimated lifespan of 30 to 35 years.

However, the lowest price that was tendered was £530,000 – approximately £200,000 more than originally expected.

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This has been blamed on increased market costs over the last 12 months, driven by inflation.

A report going before the council’s Cabinet next week says the preferred option is no longer “value for money”.

Cabinet members will be recommended to opt for replacing the softwood deck boards with hardwood timber boards instead.

A price has been tendered for £321,000, and it has an estimated lifespan of 20 to 25 years.

The report says this would still assure “a relatively long life span for the bridge”.

The project was originally given a budget of £333,500, leaving a small sum for clearing vegetation and other costs.

The preferred contractor Hankinson Whittle says that work could commence by early summer if it is approved.

The bridge was constructed as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, directly connecting the Maltings Retail Park on the east bank and Waitrose and the train station of the west.

Councillors were warned last year: “Not completing the works would result in the eventual closure of the bridge and the detrimental impact to the area because of poorly maintained public infrastructure.”

The cabinet will meet on Tuesday, March 26 to discuss the issue.

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