WORK will start on Tadcaster’s temporary footbridge on Monday.

North Yorkshire County Council say contractors will work seven days a week, 12 hours a day to complete the task as quickly as possible.

The metal bridge will be assembled in sections on site and then pushed across the river.

A programme of works has been agreed today to start to cantilever the bridge over the river next Friday. This work is expected to take a further week to complete.

The temporary bridge will span from the Selby District Council car park on the eastern side of Tadcaster across to Tadcaster Town Council land on the western side. The access path will lead through Tadcaster Albion's car park with kind permission of the football club.

The main road bridge over the River Wharfe at Tadcaster partially collapsed during flooding over the Christmas period, physically dividing the town.

Cllr Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s executive member for highways, said the council’s contractor would be working flat out to get the footbridge built within the shortest time possible. He said: “The sooner we can get the town connected again the better for everybody concerned, residents, business and visitors.

“I commend the tremendous community spirit of the town and all who have been involved in finding this alternative solution for the temporary footbridge – especially the football club.

"The county council will now make every effort to get the footbridge installed as quickly as possible.

“In the meantime we will also get on with the painstaking work of reconstructing the main bridge. A listed 18th century bridge of this nature, requires complex operations by our contractors and engineers, but again, we will endeavour to finish the work as soon as we can. We estimate the works will take about 12 months to complete.”

Demolition contractors will begin work on Monday to salvage stones from the bridge that fell into the river. They will also remove bits of the bridge that are unsafe in order for the bridge to be made safe to start work on. They will also examine the damage to the base of the pier in order to work out how the bridge can be reconstructed.

“We have been waiting for the river level to fall so that we could go in and safely carry out this work” said Cllr Mackenzie.

River levels have now fallen sufficiently for the contractors to build pontoons into the river in order to carry out the salvage and inspection work.