FEARS have been raised over how York’s newest bridge is to be kept safe during wintry weather.

A new study by City of York Council says some de-icing materials could damage the Millennium Bridge’s paintwork, and should be avoided, to prevent the authority being landed with a large bill.

But a local councillor has voiced concern over the move, saying pedestrians and cyclists have regularly fallen over, due to the treacherous surface on the bridge, which links Fulford with South Bank.

Fishergate councillor Andy D’Agorne said: “I will be asking the committee to examine winter maintenance regimes for similar structures in the UK and Europe before dismissing out of hand any measures to deal with snow and ice on this prime walking and cycling route.

“Each winter, I have seen people on foot and bikes falling on the untreated surfaces on the bridge, which has a significant slope.”

In a report which will go before the council’s community safety overview and scrutiny committee next week, officers said certain de-icing methods would be opposed by engineers.

“The bridge deck is constructed of steel with a now ten-year-old paint system on it,” said the report.

“While this provides protection against normal wear and tear, there are likely to be weaknesses in it which will spread in future years, and at some point it will be necessary to paint the underside of the bridge at a not insubstantial cost to the council.

“It is therefore crucial this protective coating lasts as long as possible. In order to make the best use of the limited maintenance resources and not compromise the effectiveness of the coating, the council’s bridge engineer would need to be completely convinced any treatment would not be detrimental and would oppose any proposed treatment involving the application of a corrosive de-icing material.”

Officers also said vehicles could not be allowed on to the bridge to clear ice and snow “due to the risk of structural damage”.