Pooley Bridge - replacement bridge project

Cumbria County Council is investing £ 5m to deliver the replacement bridge project at Pooley Bridge. The new structure will be the first stainless steel road bridge of its kind in the country.

Work started on site on Monday 9 September 2019 to remove the temporary road bridge and install a temporary footbridge.

During the construction phase of the project, from September 2019 to Spring 2020, there will be no vehicle access over the River Eamont at Pooley Bridge while the new bridge is being built. Signed diversion routes for traffic will be in operation.

The Council is working with the local community to minimise disruption as much as possible during this period. Pooley Bridge is open for business throughout the construction of the new permanent bridge.

Pooley Bridge was historically a fishing village. It is now a busy and vibrant place, catering for the millions of tourists who visit Cumbria every year.

Originally named 'Pooley' or 'Pool How' - meaning 'the hill beside the pool,' the 'Bridge' part of the name was added in 1800. An ancient derelict pond exists behind the Sun Inn, and the hill towering above the village is Dunmallet, the site of an ancient British hill fort.

The bridge which gave its name to the village was built in 1764. It spanned the River Eamont, which in 1764 formed part of the boundary between the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland - whose council's organised and funded the bridge's construction.

The initials of construction workers and stonemasons, together with the year 1764, were carved into the stonework of the buttresses but were sadly lost in the floods following Storm Desmond in December 2015.

History History 1

Unprecedented levels of rainfall caused extensive flooding in the Pooley Bridge area in early December 2015. On the afternoon of Sunday 6th, and without warning, the central arch of the 251 year old bridge collapsed; by the next morning the remaining portion had also been swept away.

The village was then isolated from the west bank, causing considerable disruption to residents and businesses.

In February 2016 work started to remove the stone and debris from the river using local contractors, Waitings. The salvaged bridge stone has been stored for possible future use.

Cumbria County Council commissioned Story Contracting to install a temporary modular steel bridge supplied by Mabey Hire in time for Easter. This was a complex job on a challenging timeframe but through the support and co-operation of a wide range of stakeholders the bridge was opened one week ahead of schedule.

The temporary replacement bridge was officially opened on Sunday 20 March 2016 on a gloriously sunny spring day.

On 23 March His Royal Highness Prince Charles visited the village, inspected the bridge and met the Parish Council, affected local residents, the County Council and its contractors. 

This was a tremendous boost to the morale of villagers and businesses and created very useful publicity. The village soon recovered and has been busy with visitors throughout the spring and summer.

Why Why 1 Why 2

Extensive engagement with the local community is being carried out on how the project for a permanent replacement bridge is progressing.

Regular bi-monthly meetings take place with local stakeholders to keep them up to date with the design and construction of the new Pooley Bridge and to provide an opportunity to get feedback from the local community.

The replacement bridge project at Pooley Bridge is a key part of Cumbria County Council's Flood Recovery Programme, involving repairs to hundreds of roads, slopes, bridges and other assets throughout the county damaged during the storms of Winter 2015.

The county council is committed to ensuring the new bridge will provide resilience against extreme bad weather so that the structure continues to connect communities for future generations.

Eric Wright Civil Engineering Ltd (EWCE) is the Principle Contractor for the design of the replacement bridge in partnership with GHD, and detailed design work is well under way with the majority of the steel skeleton of the structure having been designed. The remaining elements of the detailed design involve the bridge abutments and bridge deck. This is predominantly the concrete and heavy duty steel reinforcement detailing which provides the bridge with its structural strength.

EWCE are also focusing on Temporary Works - from crane lifting to excavation support systems - that will be needed to enable the permanent bridge to be built. This is an ongoing process that evolves as designs and discussions with specialist trades progress.

Replacement bridge project

At a recent stakeholder engagement session a revised delivery timetable for a replacement bridge, and in particular taking account of feedback indicating the importance of having a bridge in operation during the peak summer season, was presented to the community.

The current temporary road bridge will not now be removed until September 2019, with the current proposal to have a temporary footbridge in place to ensure the community remains connected before the existing structure is removed, thus allowing pedestrians to cross the river while work on the new bridge is underway.

At the moment an initial date for opening the new bridge is Easter 2020, but this may be subject to change due to the complicated nature of this major engineering project. The project team are now in the process of completing the detailed design stage from which a detailed delivery programme will be developed. 

This is the current draft timeline for the project:


January and February 2019Complete detailed design work
May and June 2019Start preparation work around the bridge (during which the temporary road bridge will remain open)
September 2019Open temporary foot bridge
September 2019Remove temporary road bridge
October 2019 to April 2020Construct permanent road bridge
By Easter 2020Proposed opening of permanent road bridge and demobilise completely by May 2020

The ullswater valley will remain open for Business!

During the road closure period, easy to follow diversions will be widely publicised and well signed to ensure that road access to both sides of the Valley is made as simple as possible, with alternative car parking being provided.

The community are planning a number of Special Events in the village during this time.

Construction Works have started to construct the new Pooley Bridge structure over the River Eamont which means that Dumallard car park, to the west side of the village is now closed for visitor parking.  

To compensate for the temporary loss of Dunmallard car park, Cumbria County Council have provided a temporary car park, 100 yards before the junction leaving the B5320. This provides free car parking for up to 30 vehicles. The car park also has access to the footpath, which remains open if visitors wish to walk to the village. 

Car parking is signed posted along the B5320. 

The works to rebuild the bridge have been planned in a way to minimise disruption to the local community, businesses and tourism in the area, whilst this exciting project is completed. Pooley Bridge will remain open for business throughout the construction period.