NOVEMBER 20TH 2009
90% overnight - Joke from the south side of the river
Day One November 20th 2009 What a tragic morning, the memories will never varnish. Waking up at 6am to find the neighbours walking the streets trying to find out what had happened, this hit us harder once we discovered we were stranded.â€œThe town was cut in two". We didn't go to school as all the surrounding bridges had fallen through the night & nobody had any idea what was going on, we lost all electricity, water, phone & internet. Our only source of information was from the police down by the main bridge, New Bridge. We walked to the
next village along in hope to get some supplies, like bread & milk for ourselves & our elderly neighbours, my dad could not get home from work because they weren't letting anyone on or off the estate because of gas leaks, and this nearly caused half the estate to be evacuated from their homes. My dad finally made it home by parking about a mile down the road and continuing the rest of the journey by foot. The thought of being stuck for days seemed devastating... Itâ€™s a memory I wonâ€™t forget.
Navvies Bridge was our quickest way to town by foot taking us literally five minutes, but overnight that all rapidly changed. Navvies Bridge started buckling on Thursday 19th and people gathered down to watch what was going on, it seemed like fun that night, it was like big news, and we were gutted because we had to walk the long way around to school the next morning. By morning it had completely collapsed, along with the New Bridge which was our long walk to school. We now had a round trip of 16 miles instead. Seems funny now, because we never went to school that day, or the next few days.
Roundtrip After the collapse of the bridge, People from the north side of the river couldn't get to work / school. We had to wait until some buses were put on to take us to & from school. The bus picked us up at the local community centre at 7am, this was because it took hours to get round at peak times. As a result of this we left school at 2.30pm to set back off to the north side of the river.
Barker Crossing Eventually a few weeks after the collapse of the bridges, a temporary foot bridge was built. It built down at the slimmest part of the river. It was still a long walk down to the bridge & even longer to town or school from the other side. However when the bridge was built we had a
bus put on to pick us up from the local community centre & then drop us off at the new temporary foot bridge which we walked over & had another bus pick us up at the south side to take us up to school.
Temporary Train Station & Tesco
A temporary train station was put in place near Dunmail Park, as well as a temporary Tesco's (all our supermarkets were on the opposite side of the bridge). The train was a free shuttle service so people could get to the other side. However it was an extremely cold winter & you sometimes had to wait a while for the train, & when it did come everyone was rushing on & people were like sardines jam packed in. On some occasions children were crying from being squashed & cold. Not only that but the temporary station was twice the walk as our original walk to the town centre previous to the collapse.
Temporary Road Bridge Temporarily Reconnected
Our temporary road bridge was placed near the original new bridge that collapsed roads were built to lead over the bridge. The bridge took 72 days to put up & we had waited 3months for them to start building the temporary bridge. So up until we had the temporary we had to travel the 16mile trip, so getting the temporary bridge was such a relief.
Reconnected by foot This was the bridge we took for granted, we walked over it nearly every day. It was five minutes from the estate to the town centre, the long walk around barkers crossing was now back to our quick five minute walk.
Construction During construction there was sometimes noise from the cranes & trucks. As well as traffic lights being placed at the end of the estate, & the road under the bridge on occasions being shut off causing us to travel through the next town to get into the town centre. It will be a relief to get the bridge finally built so we can be free of road works!
‘A True Hero’ “Bill was a wonderful police officer & a real family man He leaves behind a wife & four children –two boys & two girls – aged between 8 &16. He was due to celebrate his 45th birthday tomorrow. Bill is a hero who died saving the lives of others & our thoughts are with his family at this devastating time. He was a much loved friend, colleague & an inspiration to everyone he knew. - He will be sadly missed.”
A moving tribute to PC Bill Barker by Cumbria Chief Constable Craig Mackey
The New Bridge will open on the:
October 22nd 2012
Almost 3 years after the floods on 20th November 2009