What is wrong with the Twin Sails Bridge?
The Twin Sails Bridge has two hydraulic rams per leaf and was designed so that the bridge can be lifted in single cylinder mode for maintenance. The bridge has been operating on single cylinder mode since December 2018 after an issue was identified with a bearing on one of the Hamworthy leaf rams.
Last weekend during the 8.30pm lift a noise was heard coming from the remaining bearing/lifting ram assembly. The on call engineer attended and on inspection found the noise was similar to that heard from the now removed bearing assembly in October 2018.
As both faults are on the same side of the Bridge there was no choice but to close the Bridge to road traffic and leave it in the upright position to protect the structure from further potential damage.
When will the bridge come back into operation?
Twin Sails can operate again once the first pin and bearing are replaced and the second removed mid autumn. This will be an operation on a single cylinder with a reduced lifting speed. The bridge won’t be returned to normal operation, two cylinders and full speed, until the second pin and bearing are replaced.
Why does it take so long for the repairs to take place?
There can be long lead-in times for parts to be manufactured – in the case of the bearing it is 6 months. Now that a similar fault has occurred twice, further sets of spares are already on order in the event that this issue reoccurs.
Are you postponing the planned maintenance on Poole Bridge?
Yes the week of maintenance planned for September will be postponed with any essential works carried out overnight.
Why does the Bridge have to be kept in the upright position?
We have legal obligations to keep the channel open for boats, so we have to close Twin Sails to traffic until new parts can be supplied. Thankfully we still have Poole Bridge available.
What is being done to help commuters travel round Hamworthy and Poole?
We understand this will have an impact on those commuting. The traffic lights at the junction of Blandford Road and Rigler Road have been altered to allow north and south bound traffic to run together to enable traffic to flow easier. We would advise drivers to take extra care at this junction due to the changed priorities. We have also information about the Bridge included on approach roads and on our roadside variable messaging boards. Engineers are doing everything they can to bring the Bridge back into operation as soon as possible.
How much will the repairs cost and who is funding it?
The full cost of the repairs is not yet known. The cost and who pays is linked to the investigation of the faults and this is ongoing with all third parties involved. Only once the investigation has completed then all parties will be aware of the full reasons for the cause and who is liable.