Ringley Bridge repairs "on track" and night work set to start soon
People living close to the bridge had claimed insufficient work was being carried out to speed up the six-month closure.
The key road link over the River Irwell will be shut until December so vital bearings and joints can be replaced or repaired.
Bolton Council says working on scaffolding at night could place workers in danger as it would be hard to save them if they fell in the river, while noisy evening jobs could disturb neighbours.
Mark Rowles, a lead engineer for Bolton Council, said night-time work is now on the agenda and a lot of the work done so far has been carried out away from the public gaze.
“When the timetable reaches, say, painting or cleaning, that will be suitable work for night shifts,” said Mr Rowles.
“It’s a balance, houses a mile away will complain that we aren’t working round the clock, houses next to it will moan at the noise.
“So far, a lot of the building work has been done underneath so it won’t look like a hive of activity on the top.
“We’d love to flood the bridge with workers but it would be difficult, people would be getting in each other’s way.
“We have also encountered unforeseen problems, but we have worked to the schedule and I can’t see anything to suggest we won’t hit our completion target.”
Evening shifts on the bridge will start on September 2, to run for about six weeks, with 30 staff working on the project altogether.
Mr Rowles said inconveniencing people was unavoidable but repairing the bridge would bring benefits.
“Once you’ve set the site up, and paid for the scaffolding, you may as well do everything you can, rather than close it again in a few years,” he said.
“The public can’t see the underlying problems with a bridge, which they can with a road but unfortunately bridge faults are not obvious until something catastrophic happens, which is why we have to act now.”
Bolton firm AE Yates Ltd is working with the council on the project, so the money spent remains in the town.
So far they have stripped the road surface away to make the bridge light enough to raise up by 20mm.
They are set to replace badly corroded but essential bearings, before lowering the bridge again and relaying the road.
Cllr David Chadwick, who was touring the site in his role on the planning and highways committee, said: “I hope that people realise the contractors are working very hard.
“We are working hand and glove with them to get it done on time or, if possible, to get it done early.“
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