A SUSPENSION bridge that was seriously damaged during the Boxing Day floods in 2015 is to be replaced in a project worth around £1million.
The Dinckley footbridge, which crosses the Ribble River near Ribchester, has been closed for more than a year and Lancashire County Council is aiming to complete the work by summer 2018.
Preparatory surveys, design work, and planning for the scheme are set to take place this year.
An exact cost for the project and if the structure, which was built in 1951, should be rebuilt from the foundations or if they can be saved will be decided on in the coming months.
County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The damage caused to Dinckley footbridge during the winter storms of 2015 left us needing to carefully consider a number of issues and options about its future.
"The floods caused severe damage to the deck and the hangers which attach to the suspension cables.
"After considering options for repair or replacement we have concluded that the most appropriate course of action is to replace it.
"On top of the damage caused in 2015, the bridge is over 60-years-old and its condition is deteriorating, meaning it would need considerable maintenance in the near future in any case.
"The bridge has also been damaged in previous floods, and replacing it would allow us to raise the height of the deck to reduce the likelihood of it being damaged again in future storms.
"We intend to tender the work this year and carry out the replacement in summer 2018.
"It would not be feasible to start any earlier as the work will need to take place from May to September when water levels are lower, and design, planning, and fabrication of the bridge needs to take place before we can get on site.
"The location is quite remote, and that in itself will present extra challenges that we don't have with most bridge repairs.
"I know that people who previously used this bridge for their regular walks are very keen for it to be open again, and I'm grateful for their patience while we work to replace the bridge, which will provide a long term solution."
The funding for the work is from the money received from the Department for Transport last year to repair infrastructure damaged during the 2015 floods.