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The current 'temporary' bridge
by Radio Cumbria reporter Rob Dearden
The metal bridge which crosses the River Eden at Langwathby isn't quite what you'd expect to see in a Cumbrian village.
And it hasn't always been this way. The old sandstone bridge in Langwathby was built in 1686 on the A686 and remained there for more than three-hundred years until devastating floods hit the village.
How things used to be.
In the early hours of Mothers day on March 25th 1968 the rains came and the force of the water washed the structure down the River Eden.
A few weeks later a temporary Calendar Hamilton bridge was built and meant that people could travel again on the A686 from Penrith towards Northumberland.
There were plans to keep the structure there for a decade but nearly forty years later the temporary bridge remains.
The Calendar Hamilton bridge
A campaign in the 1990s involving Eden Hall and Langwathby Parish Council was launched to try and get a permanent replacement, it was hoped that the new one could be officially opened at midnight on New Years Eve 1999.
The majority of the money for a new bridge was secured and Cumbria County Council was about to pay the last quarter of the funds but central government said no more money was to be spent on roads or bridges, so the bid failed.
A few years later the flooding of January 2005 meant that the bridge was damaged again with parts of the old bridge and land nearby being washed away.
After a recent safety inspection it’s been revealed that the temporary bridge could remain for the next forty years if needed.
According to the Guinness Book of Records it’s the longest lasting temporary bridge in the country.
last updated: 28/04/2008 at 14:39