A ROW over a noisy footbridge that has dragged on for three years finally looks as though it is edging towards being resolved.

It was reported that in windy conditions the Ferry Lane footbridge, which connects Sealand and Saltney over the River Dee, makes a droning sound that has been likened to that of a World War Two fighter jet.

Describing the problem at the Sealand Community Council meeting on Monday (February 10), Peter Siddorn, Chairman of the Ferry Lane Residents Association, said: “Residents are being woken up and disturbed by droning sounds caused by the wind.

The Leader:

The Ferry Lane footbridge parapets

“It’s a sound that is so hard to ignore as it is similar to the sound made by a Lancaster Bomber.

“But it’s a trading standard issue that we have here as parts of that bridge are not fit for purpose, so why should the community council foot the bill of having it sorted?

“We established the problem two-and-a-half years ago thanks to the expertise of Cllr Mike Walker, but nothing has been done about it.

“If they were 'damped' halfway, they would be rigid and wouldn’t be effected by the wind.”

Three years after the issue was first reported, councillors have finally been informed of three “relatively expensive” recommendations from a structural engineer to reduce the noise nuisance.

After discussing the issue, Sealand councillors decided on attaching rails to the verticals as their preferred solution.

This option was chosen ahead of filling the vertical sections with expanding polyurethane foam and attaching mesh to the parapets.

It is hoped that the chosen recommendation will stiffen the vertical sections by tying them together to reduce or eliminate resonance.

According to the expert’s report, a rubber strip will be attached to the rear of the rail and will be in contact with all verticals, but will only be fixed at occasional verticals.

The advantages of the chosen solution will be that they are relatively quick to fit, although special fixings would be required to avoid bi-metallic corrosion.

Despite a recommendation being chosen by Sealand Community Councillors, Mark Middleton, operational manager for Streetscene, said: “The funds that I have at the moment are only for emergency situations.

“So, I will have to secure capital funding (from Welsh Government) because the railings are currently serving their purpose of stopping people from falling into the river.

“The onus will now be on Flintshire County Council to take the problem forward and begin resolving it.”

There remains to be a level of uncertainty about how effective any of the solutions would be, subsequently leading to the structural engineer suggesting a form or trial testing be carried out before progressing to a full scheme.

At the meeting, Mr Middleton added that it will cost around £2,000 to test an exact replica of the bridge in an experimental wind tunnel for two hours.

Cllr Norman Jones added: “This issue is over three years old and that is quite honestly a disgrace.

“We should have had something back from Flintshire (Council) by now, but for it to keep coming into our council meetings for more than three years is very, very, very, very poor.”

Following Mr Middleton’s claims of a possible trading standard issue, it is expected that the local council will attempt to split any costs with the contractors who originally erected the footbridge.

However, no formal agreement has of yet been made between the two parties.