A DATE for work to start on replacing a bridge at Fiddlers Ferry has been confirmed - more than a year after it collapsed into the canal.

Warrington Borough Council said a permanent replacement for the Marsh House Bridge will be installed at the end of October.

It is estimated it will take eight months to complete, leaving business owners hoping their ‘living hell’ will soon be over.

A council spokesman said: “The new bridge will be wider than the existing bridge, will provide safer passage for motorists and is a great opportunity to open the disused Sankey Canal and develop adjoining land.

“Further details of the phasing of the works affecting road users, residents and businesses will be released on the council website in October.”

The original bridge fell into the St Helens Canal after it caved in under the weight of a lorry, in September last year.

As revealed in the Warrington Guardian, it was due to be replaced.

Since the incident, business owners on the trading estate at Fiddlers Ferry have struggled for months, as the fallen bridge offered the main access point to the site.

A temporary bridge was put in place by the council a month after the initial collapse, but it did not fit properly, meaning large vehicles had difficulty in using it.

Phil Parker, owner of Fiddlers Ferry Caravans, said the collapse has meant the loss of customers, with some motor homes having been trapped on the estate since last September, and ongoing stress.

“I suffered a heart attack in March and had to have a heart bypass,” said Mr Parker, who says he pays £500 a month in business rates.

“I had built up the business to run itself, and then it’s been nothing but trouble.

“We have still got the same problems with access.

“The council has not kept us informed - they are not interested because it does not affect them.

“My life has been a living hell. We just want this to be over.”

Mike Mason, owner of Limos North West, has also struggled to use the temporary bridge and remains concerned over what disruption will be caused when work on the new bridge begins.

He said: “Our vehicles have been damaged going over the bridge, and we have needed extra staff.

“It has been a nightmare. And for the council to give details of how it will affect us the same month work starts is ridiculous.”