New tram bridge design 'sleek and efficient'

The architect who designed a replacement for a 200-year-old bridge in Lancashire has said he is "proud" to be involved in work to replace "a very well-loved route".

The tram bridge in Preston, which links Avenham Park and Penwortham, was shut in 2019 due to a risk of collapse.

Work has now begun on a £6.6m project to replace the landmark after structural defects were discovered.

Architect John Bridge said the new design was "sleek, efficient, sustainable".

The Old Tram Bridge
The historic tram bridge links Avenham Park and Penwortham [BBC]

Images of the new suspension-type bridge were revealed in March.

Mr Bridge said: "The original started life as a timber bridge and only took four months to create, but it only lasted 40 years.

"It was replaced time and time again until the early 1900s and they went to concrete in the sixties, and that is what you see today.

"Unfortunately it couldn't be repaired as there were 200 faults with it and it would have cost more to repair that for it to be rebuilt."

Mr Bridge said with only two pillars in the river, it will have less impact on the water.

"We've tried to create a bridge with a nod to Preston's industrial heritage, and I'd hope it will last a lot longer than its predecessor," he said.

An exhibition has opened at Avenham Park café to show visitors how the work will be done and how the new bridge will look.

It is hoped the crossing, funded by Levelling Up cash and Lancashire County Council, will open next year.

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