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Next chapter in the delivery of the tram bridge

16 May 2024

Image L-R: Chris Wilding, Lancashire County Council, Adrian Philips CEO of Preston City Council, Gavin Hulme Eric Wright Civil Engineering, Councillor Valerie Wise Preston City Council, Councillor Aidy Riggot Lancashire County Council, John Bridge Studio

Image L-R: Chris Wilding, Lancashire County Council, Adrian Philips CEO of Preston City Council, Gavin Hulme Eric Wright Civil Engineering, Councillor Valerie Wise Preston City Council, Councillor Aidy Riggot Lancashire County Council, John Bridge Studio

The next chapter unfolds for the much-loved Tram Bridge, with some preparatory work starting on site and Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council marking this occasion with the opening of a new public exhibition about the bridge.

The replacement Tram Bridge will be delivered by Preston City Council using part of its £20million Levelling Up funding allocation from the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC), with an additional £1 million from Lancashire County Council.

Preston City Council, has engaged locally-based Eric Wright Civil Engineering for the bridge's design and construction and Lancashire County Council is providing project management and technical expertise, with design input from Preston-based Architects, Studio John Bridge.

Following the unveiling of the new bridge designs in March, some early preparatory work has started on site with the removal of trees on the South Ribble side of the river and the creation of an access route to facilitate the main bridge works.

The design for the bridge supports sustainability factors as well as minimising any environmental impacts of the new structure, boasting a projected life span of 120 years. 

The Tram Bridge will be constructed with local needs and its picturesque setting in mind. The first stage of the build has had to overcome logistical challenges which includes its remote location, away from any roads, and the necessity to adhere to tight timelines for ecological and flood clearance reasons. It will serve as an important link for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders between South Ribble and Preston.

To get to this milestone, Preston City Council is working with Lancashire County Council and Eric Wright Civil Engineering who in collaboration with a consortium of specialist consultants and suppliers, including:

  • Studio John Bridge
  • Jacobs Ltd
  • Bowland Ecology
  • DYSE Structural Engineers
  • East Lancashire based Harrisons Engineering, are united in their commitment to deliver a Tram Bridge that will make Preston proud.

Preston City Councillor Valerie Wise, Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building and City Centre Regeneration and Development said:

"It is testament to the hard work of Preston City Council in securing the funding through our successful Levelling Up bid, to give priority to the Tram Bridge as one of the key projects in our 'Active Travel' package of improvements for the city.

"We are pleased progress is being made onsite with preparatory works to secure the future of Preston's beloved Tram Bridge and it is really important that we deliver this bridge for the people of Preston.  I look forward to when the public can utilise and enjoy the bridge link once again.

"The Tram Bridge is steeped in history and it's great to see it celebrated through the new exhibition at The Pavilions Café in Avenham Park. The exhibition gives a chartered history of the bridge through the ages and some images of how it will look for future generations. We hope that visitors find it interesting and informative."

County Councillor Aidy Riggot, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth said:

"The Tram Bridge is a key feature of this part of the River Ribble, providing a vital link between Preston and South Ribble as part of our popular network of walking, cycling and bridleway routes in this area. There has been a lot of hard work by many people to get to this stage where work is starting on the ground and I'd like to say thank you to everyone who has been involved for their contribution so far.

"The new bridge will restore a walkable journey option for people in Preston and South Ribble and I know I'm one of the many people who will be keeping a close eye on construction over the coming months as it begins to take shape."

Gavin Hulme, Operations Director at Eric Wright Civil Engineering, said:

"Eric Wright Civil Engineering are proud to be involved in this landmark project for Preston and recognise the importance of the structure for the community. As a Preston based contractor employing local people we pride ourselves on delivering technically demanding and complex projects such as the Tram Bridge and look forward to its opening in the near future."

Free Drop-In Exhibition

To mark the next chapter, a public exhibition has been launched at the Pavilion Café in Avenham Park, tracing the history of the Tram Bridge, from its role during World War II to sections of the bridge dating back to the 1800s still standing.

Featuring CGI imagery of the new bridge, the exhibition aims to engage and inform the public about its design features.

The temporary exhibition is now open to the public, free of charge, at the Pavilion Café, with operating hours from Sunday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, and Saturday, 9:30am am to 5pm.

An exhibition of the Tram Bridge at Avenham Pavilion

Additional Information

Preston City Council actively applies and prioritises the principles of Community Wealth Building wherever applicable and appropriate. Community Wealth Building is an approach which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone.

Picture Captions

  1. Image of key stakeholders
  2. Image of exhibition

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