A Bridge too Far

Travellers on the A639 to Leeds cannot have missed the metal track laid parallel to the railway line at ground level (Feb 2009).

It would appear that Railtrack, or is it Network Rail have examined the bridge under the elevated embankment some 400m from the main road and declared it unsafe.  AMCO a civil engineering and mining contracting firm have been engaged to fill the bridge and make the arch safe.

The bridge has not been in use to my knowledge for more than 50 years, possibly longer, being only an occasional way through for the inquisitive.    The bridge is known as Harrison’s Bridge and little if anything is known as to how it got this name – could it have been a tenant farmer requiring access when the line was constructed around 1840 on the Leeds – Normanton section of the London – Edinburgh line?  Does anybody know?

A brief scan at the Methley Census 1841 extracted in Jim Melvin’s book Methley 2000 indicates a Mrs Harrison aged 75, a lady of independent means and with two house servants who lived at Churchside in what could be the cottages at the rear of the Cedars.

There were some 23 bridges in this village; what with two rivers and two canal systems, three railway lines, a major A road and the more recent construction of the M62 motorway.

Right now (April 2009) there are 22 following the above construction works and the filling in of Harrisons Bridge.  Not very well used but certainly of architectural character and in keeping with the style of other under embankment bridges here – and its been here for 170 years.  

The end product is a breeze block fronted closure covering a liquid concrete fill which looks absolutely appalling.

A photo shot was held today (30th April 2009) of people gathered to challenge the outcome of this work and question the decision on safety.

They were led by the triumvirate of Councillors Wakefield and Lewis and local enthusiast Terry Waite who are to proceed further with the matter.

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