Riverside work report welcomed

MOVES are under way to try to address defects of banks and structures by the River Pont.

Works are required on some of the river banks, footbridges and the wall beside the Waitrose bridge in Ponteland Park after Ponteland Town Council sought advice from geo-environmental consultancy Scott Doherty Associates (SDA).

Problems include the weakening of the footbridge abutments, which will require the decks to be replaced and voids to be filled with concrete.

To deal with the cracking of brick coping in the wall, the removal of bricks and tree roots and repairs to reinstate the wall are proposed.

A number of river banks are suffering from erosion due to animals entering the river and floods. The solutions put forward include planting with willow, cutting back the slope and possibly installing timber steps.

A recommendation to councillors was given by Coun Robin Ramsay in a summary report.

It says: “SDA be appointed to prepare relevant documentation up to and including obtaining firm contract sums for these works, including the reconstruction of the bridge decks in time for inclusion in the precept for next year.

“Schemes should be agreed by SDA in conjunction with the Environment Agency for temporary protection to the bridge abutments and a contractor appointed to carry out these works before the end of September. Separate approval will be obtained from the council for these works.

“Prices be obtained for the repair of the brick wall near Waitrose bridge directly from a contractor and submitted to the council for approval.”

This was approved along with a budget allowance of £7,000 for the design work. Members also agreed to appoint a structural engineer to provide working drawings for the replacement of the footbridge decks, based on the re-use of existing deck materials.

This will enable the authority to determine with reasonable accuracy the costs involved with this particular scheme.

Ponteland Mayor Peter Cowey said: “This report on the current situation is very welcome and it will lead to a lot of important work being carried out by the river.”