It’s interesting to see that the 50-year-old Blakeborough’s bridge in the news again. Will it or won’t it be reopened sometime in the future, that is the ongoing question.
Some readers may not be familiar with this bridge that was opened in 1962.
The bridge was built by Blakeborough’s to link both sides of the River Calder from River Street through to Huntingdon Road into Armytage Road on the industrial estate. To enable them to access the new Sherwood Works on the Armytage Industrial Estate side of the river.
The bridge was not opened as a bridge for the general public but solely for the employees of Blakeborough’s although in time it became a short cut for people living on the Rastrick side of the river.
The bridge was built to an American specification and not to UK standards, it was not built to take huge wagons but just the Blakeborough run-about vehicles where weight would not be an issue and of course motor vehicles that travelled too and from the respective works on both sides of the river.
There was one occasion when the managing director of Blakeborough’s was travelling between works and as he drove on to the bridge and was half way across another vehicle suddenly appeared and rather than giving way also drove onto the bridge.
This was not an employee but someone taking the short cut route. The offending vehicle, as the managing director saw it, refused to give way which infuriated him.
After some time he got out of his vehicle locked it up and abandoned it on his company bridge, called in the office and asked someone to go and collect it a couple of hours later.
It was closed in the 1980s on safety grounds.
Since that closure every now and then it’s possible reopening is raised, but who will pay for the maintenance costs now Blakeborough’s is no more.
The bridge was never intended to allow huge wagons at that time across it and with wagons being even bigger now the bridge could not cope under the strain.
The question about the bridge’s reopening was brought up in 2005 and will no doubt rumble on until a decision is made one way or another.
But either way, leave it or demolish it on any health and safety grounds or even reopen it, I would imagine it will be very expensive.
In this photograph which was taken by Ralph Howard on the February 15, 1962, shows the bridge under construction.
The bridge is described as a concrete tied arch style of bridge.
In the back ground is the newly constructed Sherwood Works which the bridge was intended to be used as a link from the new works to the River Street offices and works.