A route taken by many people in a Derbyshire town will be closed to motorists and pedestrians for a month. The Matlock Bridge in Matlock provides a quick cut across the River Derwent which separates the town center from the rest of the popular tourist site, but due to flood control works the bridge will be closed.
Instead, drivers will face a one-mile diversion taking them out of town and then back via the A6. As for pedestrians, a footbridge in nearby Hall Leys Park will provide an option to cross the river, but will add half a kilometer of walking distance.
From June 13 until early August, the bridge will be closed for work that will alter the route to temporarily allow two-way traffic over the bridge. This temporary road surface will be built on top of the existing road surface and pavement and is expected to be used by vehicles for up to 18 months.
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Once this bridge work is complete, the A6 at Derwent Way will be closed so that a large crane can be installed on the A6 to carry out the necessary work to restore the flood defences.
The repair work follows February storms that caused flooding in Derbyshire. Storms have caused a wall behind businesses in Crown Square to collapse, posing a risk of flooding.
A resident crossing the bridge said the closure wouldn’t affect him much because he didn’t mind the extra distance. However, he added: “I have buddies who aren’t as good on their feet so the extra 500m can be a lot worse for them I guess.”
The general consensus from the perspective of motorists was that turning the bridge into a two-way road was a change that needed to be made permanent. Although Derbyshire County Council has confirmed that once work is completed the road will revert to a one-way route.
Lesley Webb said: “It would be great if the bridge was permanently returned to two-way traffic. This seems to be what most locals want and would reduce queues along Bakewell Road.”
Michael Rogan added: “It needs to stay open to two-way traffic. Doing it one way has turned Matlock into a bottleneck. Put a weight limit on it and leave it open to two-way traffic.”
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Assets and Transport, Councilor Kewal Singh Athwal, said: ‘We realize the works will cause some disruption to traffic in the town, but these works must be done as soon as possible to protect homes and businesses. While the temporary road works are complete, pedestrians should use the Hall Leys Park Footbridge for alternative access across the River Derwent.”
More information about the closure can be found here.