A DALES road closed since torrential rainfall at the end of July caused a landslip and weakened a bridge has reopened two days ahead of schedule.

The B6270, which links Grinton and Reeth with the Richmond area, suffered severe damage when floods hit the region on July 30 and 31.

One part became impassable when a landslip caused a section of road to collapse away.

Further along the route, a bridge across Cogden Beck was left severely damaged.

North Yorkshire County Council’s bridge engineers and contractors Hinko have been working hard to get the road reopened as soon as possible.

The repair operation has involved digging away the landslide, laying new road foundations and then resurfacing and white-lining the route.

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Where Cogden Bridge North was damaged, a temporary structure was trucked to the site and new stretch of access road added to reconnect it to the B6270.

Steel tubing was brought in to channel Cogden Beck safely beneath the new crossing.

It was anticipated the road would be opened on Friday August 16, but workers managed to complete the huge task two days early, with the road reopening at 6pm on Wednesday evening.

North Yorkshire County Council’s corporate director of environmental services, David Bowe, said: “It has been a huge operation to repair the damage caused by such severe weather, but we have been acutely aware of the importance of this road in connecting communities in the upper Dales with nearby towns and services and have pulled out all the stops to make sure this happened as quickly as possible.”

First to cross the bridge was Andrew Atkin, landlord of The Bridge Inn at Grinton.

He said; “It’s a great weight off our minds– businesses are now officially open in Swaledale - this puts us back on the map.

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“Personally, this means I will get passing trade again which has been missing for the past two weeks.

“We are open for business, so please come and see us because it’s a beautiful place with lots of businesses that need your support.”

Another road - linking Grinton with Leyburn – was also left impassable when a traditional dales masonry bridge was left completely destroyed by flood water and debris.

On Tuesday this week, giant steel tubes were lowered into the beck, which will form the basis of a temporary crossing.

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The bridge on Grinton Moor forms part of the UCI Road World Championship route.

If all goes well, the temporary bridge and connecting road will allow the cycle race to continue along its planned route in September.

North Yorkshire County Council intends to reopen the road on August 30.

Executive member for Highways, Cllr Don Mackenzie said: “We are very pleased to be able to announce the B6270 has reopened ahead of schedule and work is well underway on reopening the bridge on Grinton Moor.

The Northern Echo:

“These two routes are a vital link for communities, businesses and the many visitors to the Yorkshire Dales. The B6270 is the principal access route from Richmond to Swaledale and reopening this road will helps communities on their journey to recovering from these devastating floods.”