Humber Bridge board seeks solution over path closures

image captionThe 1.4 mile (2,200m) long bridge crosses the Humber estuary and links East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

A number of recent "deeply troubling" suicides at the Humber Bridge prompted a decision to close its footpaths, the board which runs the bridge has said.

It said it was looking for solutions and wanted to reopen the footpaths to commuters "as soon as possible".

The paths on either side of the 1.4 mile (2.2km) long bridge are for use by pedestrians and cyclists.

The Humber Bridge Board said it was working with partners to understand the recent events and assess the risks.

A spokesman for the board said: "We understand closing the footways has been a controversial decision that has not attracted universal support.

"But we would like to reassure the public it has been taken as an emergency response to the unprecedented and deeply troubling events at the Humber Bridge over recent weeks."

The spokesman added there had been a number of individuals in the last month who had decided to take their lives at the bridge and preventing further incidents was the board's sole consideration.

A petition calling for safety measures to stop suicides at the bridge has attracted more than 9,000 signatures.

The Humber Bridge Board spends £250,000 a year on such measures and the spokesman said: "Until last month these measures have been largely effective."

To fully understand recent events, he said the board was working with public health officials, MPs, councils, the emergency services and charities such as the Samaritans and Hull and East Yorkshire Mind.

"While this is ongoing, the footways must remain closed to the general public," he said.

"We are, however, looking at reopening access to commuters as soon as possible, to minimise disruption to those who cycle or walk to work over the Humber Bridge, and we are considering a range of measures to ensure the situation can be effectively managed once the footways fully reopen."

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