Historic bridge is set for demolition

Plans which may see an historic bridge demolished have sparked fierce opposition from a civic society, which says it should be saved and money spent on road safety measures instead.

Since 1988, around 22 lorries have hit the disused railway bridge at Sawmills over the A610 between Ambergate and Ripley, and Derbyshire County Council has now begun a survey to decide if the 250-tonne bridge should be demolished or raised in height.

The council says it “counts itself fortunate the bridge has not caused a death so far”, but members of the Bullbridge and Sawmills Area Civic Society say the £150,000 cost of demolition is unnecessary and is “begging” the council for a pedestrian crossing.

Secretary Gill Hurst said: “We also believe that improved signage would ensure high-sided lorries did not continue along the A610. It almost feels like a fait accompli. We want time for discussion – it seems like an awful lot of money without consultation.”

But county council officers say the steel and concrete bridge, opened in 1875 and shut in 1968, is of minor historical value.

A council spokeswoman promised a full consultation.