Barker Crossing

Barker Crossing
Barker Crossing

Barker Crossing during construction.
Carries Pedestrians
Crosses River Derwent
Locale Workington
Design Mabey Logistic Support Bridge
Material Steel
Total length 52 metres
Constructed by Royal Engineers
(3 Armoured Engineer Squadron)[1]
Construction begin 27 November 2009
Construction end 5 December 2009
Opened 7 December 2009
Closed 14 February 2011
Coordinates 54°38′56″N 3°32′08″W / 54.648845°N 3.535464°W / 54.648845; -3.535464Coordinates: 54°38′56″N 3°32′08″W / 54.648845°N 3.535464°W / 54.648845; -3.535464

Barker Crossing was a pedestrian footbridge in Workington, England which was named after police officer Bill Barker, who died when the Northside Bridge in Workington collapsed below him. [2] It crossed the River Derwent, and linked the north and south sides of the town.



During the November 2009 Great Britain and Ireland floods, all four road and pedestrian bridges in Workington were either swept away, or severely damaged, leaving one sound railway bridge crossing the River Derwent in the town. This left the residents with a 14-mile trip to get from one side of the Derwent to the other.[3] On 30 November Workington North railway station was opened allowing people to travel by train between the north and south sides.[4]


Foundations for the bridge were started on 27 November 2009, and used 4000 tonnes of aggregate on the banks of the Derwent.[5] The 110 tonne bridge is a single span 52 metre Mabey Logistic Support Bridge which was constructed in Mill Field, on the south bank of the Derwent, and launched across the river, with its "nose" landing on the north bank on 4 December. The bridge was then pushed onto the north bank, and a steel deck laid.[6] Street furniture including lighting was added, and the bridge opened to the public just after 08:00 (GMT) on 7 December 2009.

The bridge was constructed by Royal Engineers of 3 Armoured Engineer Squadron, 22 Engineer regiment based at Tidworth, Wiltshire.[7] They worked 24 hours a day in adverse weather conditions including driving rain much of the week and temperatures as low as -8C.[5]


The bridge was named in honour of PC Bill Barker[1] who drowned in the River Derwent in Workington in the early morning of 20 November 2009. Barker was on the damaged Northside Bridge, stopping traffic from using it. The bridge was swept away beneath him.[8]

The bridge was named after Barker following a campaign by teenagers from Workington launched on YouTube.[2][9]

His body was washed up on a beach at Allonby. He left a widow, Hazel, and four children.[10]

He joined the police on 3 January 1984, at age 19. He worked on Brigham Traffic Control, then the Western Mobile Support Group which then became the Western Roads Policing Unit. He was a family liaison officer. In August 1997, he received a chief constable’s commendation for his courage and tenacity during a pursuit with a Land Rover Discovery in the Keswick area; it rammed his car twice.

The then Prime Minister Gordon Brown described him as a "very heroic, very brave man".[11]

On 27 November 2009, he was buried at Egremont, Cumbria. His funeral was the lead item on the BBC TV 6 o'clock news.[12] The next day, Prince Charles met his family in private.[13] The inquest into Barker's death opened on 13 October 2010 at Cleator Moor civic hall.[14] On 15 October 2010 the inquest ruled that Barker's death was an accident.[15]


On 14 February 2011 work began to remove the bridge, which is no longer needed as the repaired Calva Bridge was due to reopen to pedestrians that day.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b "Barker Crossing Opens". MOD Oracle (NSI (Holdings) Ltd.). 7 December 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Couzens, Jo (7 December 2009). "Bridge Named In Honour Of Hero Policeman". Sky News International. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  3. ^ Wainwright, Martin (7 December 2009). "Footbridge reunites Workington after floods". London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Hume, Colette (30 November 2009). "Workington gets new rail station after Cumbria flood". BBC News Online. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Ingham, John (8 December 2009). "BRIDGE DEDICATED TO TRAGIC POLICE HERO REUNITES FLOOD TOWN". Daily Express (Northern and Shell Media Publications). Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  6. ^ Stimpson, Jo (7 December 2009). "Workington temporary bridge opens for use". New Civil Engineer. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Soldiers help in flood hit Cumbria". Salisbury Journal (Newsquest Media Group). 1 December 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  8. ^ Jenkins, Russell (28 November 2009). "Town pays tribute to flood hero PC Bill Barker". The Times (London: Times Newspapers Ltd.). Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  9. ^ "Flooded Workington united by new army-built bridge". BBC News (BBC). 7 December 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  10. ^ Stokes, Paul (20 November 2009). "Cumbria floods: Pc Bill Barker died on eve of his birthday". Telegraph website (London). Retrieved 21 November 2009. 
  11. ^ Stokes, Paul (20 November 2009). "Cumbria floods: Pc Bill Barker died on eve of his birthday - Telegraph". London: Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  12. ^ "United in Grief and Respect". Egremont Today. Published by Egremont & District Labour Party. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "PC Bill Barker's family meet Prince Charles". The Whitehaven News. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  14. ^ Griffiths, Nick. "Cumbrian flood bridge 'rippled' before policeman swept to his death". News and Star. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  15. ^ "BBC News - Pc Bill Barker's Cumbria flood death an accident". 15 October 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  16. ^ "7/2/2011 - Barker Crossing and Workington (Calva) bridge progress update : Cumbria County Council". Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  17. ^ "BBC News - Workington's army-built flood bridge removed". 8 February 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 

External links

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