ANYONE who takes a trip across a historic bridge in Burton may notice a rather different scene during the next few weeks.
Scaffolding now surrounds the Ferry Bridge as workers from Staffordshire County Council continue efforts to spruce up the structure over the coming months.
An estimated £1 million will be spent in a bid to restore the landmark to its former glory.
Staffordshire County Council chief executive Nick Bell said: “The county council is working in partnership with English Heritage, East Staffordshire Borough Council and Burton Civic Society to fully understand the condition of the listed structure so that a maintenance scheme can be delivered next year to restore it to its former glory, ensuring it remains open and in good condition for years to come.”
Workmen can currently be found at the landmark as they take a close look at the condtion of the bridge deck.
Authority bosses also confirmed that, while on site, work will be undertaken to strengthen the foundations of the bridge.
Once the assessment of the bridge deck is complete, a scheme to repair that part of the structure is expected to take place next summer.
The work to shore up the foundations of the bridge is expected to last around three months.
The total cost of the repairs could reach up to £1 million.
The Ferry Bridge was gifted to the town in 1889 by Michael Arthur Bass.
It was built to replace an existing ferry boat crossing linking the communities of Stapenhill and Burton.
A group called Friends of the Ferry Bridge was set up following concerns that the bridge was falling into disrepair.
The group wants to see more work done to the rest of the bridge to once again make it something to be proud of.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for economy and infrastructure Mark Winnington said: “Burton’s Ferry Bridge is one of Staffordshire’s historic landmarks and an important part of Burton’s heritage. We want to see it fully restored so that present and future generations can enjoy it. Work has been carried out in recent years to preserve the bridge and ensure it can be kept in use but this project will bring long-term restoration.
“The investigative work has now started. This is necessary to find out exactly what needs to be done and find out how much the project will cost, although we estimate it will be in the region of £1 million.
“This is a unique project on a listed structure and we will be keeping people updated throughout. The bridge will remain open throughout this initial works period so no-one will be inconvenienced. We maintain over 1,000 bridges across the county – maintaining access and transport connections. This project is also about preserving Staffordshire’s history.”