It continues to be a challenging time as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic develops across the UK and impacts on every aspect of our lives.

As a Council, we remain committed to delivering our major projects, whilst ensuring we follow public health advice in relation to social distancing to help stem the spread of the virus and keep everybody involved safe.

The A52 Wyvern Transport Improvement Scheme is a key infrastructure project for our city, and a major part of the scheme is the replacement footbridge which will link the residential area of Chaddesden to the Wyvern and Pride Park area.

The installation of the new bridge is an extremely complex operation.  Following in-depth reviews of the footbridge lifting methodology by the specialist bridge contractor, a number of operations have been identified where it would not be possible to comply with the government’s advised two metre separation between workers, therefore compromising their safety.  As a result, the planned bridge lift, which was due to take place over the weekend of 18th/19th April, will be postponed to a later date.

We will continue to work with our main contractor, Galliford Try, to prepare a revised plan and will look to lift the bridge into place as soon as possible, once the current restrictions are lifted, and subject to weather conditions.

Other work on the scheme will continue where social distancing requirements can be safely adhered to, including the surfacing works around the Wyvern which have begun this week.

Councillor Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Transportation said:

“Whilst the council quite rightly focuses on its response to Covid-19, we haven’t lost sight of how important it is to move forward with this essential infrastructure project.

We have been working closely with our contractors, looking at ways to be able to deliver the bridge lift as planned. However, it’s now clear that this just cannot be done without compromising the safety of those involved regarding social distancing. The bridge lift is a hugely complex operation and involves specific tasks that inherently require the close working of two or more people.

Potential alternative ways of working were explored, but they would compromise the strict technical procedures that need to be followed. Safety is absolutely the number one priority and whilst this news is disappointing for everyone, we must apply the government’s advice above all else.”

Steve Hancox, Galliford Try project manager said:

”We have considered alternative measures including the introduction of additional plant and equipment, but have not been able to remove the requirement for close working during this complex element of the works, without introducing other significant risks.  The safety and wellbeing of our workforce is Galliford Try’s top priority and to ensure this we have agreed, as a team, to postpone the installation of the footbridge at this time.

We acknowledge that completion of these works is a high priority for Derby residents.  We continue to work closely with Derby City Council and other stakeholders to explore alternative dates for the safe installation of the footbridge. All lift dates will remain dependent upon good weather and suitable wind conditions.”