A vital new road link is set to boost the Workington economy and breathe new life into the town’s port.

Network Rail’s plans to rebuild Siddick Bridge have been given the go-ahead by Allerdale Council.

The over-rail bridge, which provides the only road access to the town’s port, currently has a weight restriction in place and traffic flow has been reduced to one lane due to its poor condition.

Now a new bridge is to be built, with work due to start in January and finish by April the following year. The original bridge will then be demolished.

In the plans, Network Rail says “aspirational investments” are planned for the port, which will involve “major infrastructure regeneration” and “new and highly improved services”.

The rail company adds that the development will turn the port into a “significant container and logistics hub” for the North West.

Keith Little, the county council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said the current bridge was “stifling” the port and that the new one would be a “huge improvement”.

“It should improve the economy of the port. At the moment we are restricted to the amount of weight we can take there. It will be absolutely crucial to the vitality of the port going forward.”

David Southward, the county council’s cabinet member for economic development and property, said: “It’s an essential part of the improvement of the port of Workington. We have lots of aspirations of expanding the use of the port. Having a much better road to it will be an asset.”

Councillor David King, deputy mayor of Workington, said: “It can only be a good thing. In relation to the port, what we need is a real plan for it, in our opinion. I think it’s been neglected for years. I think the port in Workington has economic potential for people in Workington and outsiders looking in to invest.”