A LONG-RUNNING scheme to build a scaled-down replica of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge for pedestrians over the River Don near Sheffield city centre overcame another hurdle this week.
Revised proposals for a structure to cross from near Kelham Island Industrial Museum to Brooklyn Works to mark historic industrial links with America received council approval on Tuesday.
The project, which was conceived ten years ago, was held up by the 2007 floods that swamped the Kelham area, and the revised design reflects a risk of higher water levels.
The bridge, a one-tenth scale model of the original, is due to form part of a riverside walk from Lady’s Bridge near the Wicker to Beeley Woods in Middlewood, in the Upper Don Valley.
But there were objections to the latest application. Four residents of Brooklyn Works told the council of concerns such as a loss of privacy and the impact on the character of the area, but there was also support from other people on the basis that the bridge would become a focal point and attract visitors to Kelham Island Museum and local cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Council planners accept it is a historically sensitive district but say the bridge “is considered to be a reflection of the area’s heritage and will add value to the historical significance of the area.”
Backers hope that construction of a structure that celebrates the strong industrial and trading links between Sheffield and Brooklyn New York in the 19th century can finally start at Kelham Island in the spring of next year.
It was the idea of former Sheffield University engineer Dr Alan Wood and the late architect Mat Tatlow, with supporters keen to see ambitions realised as a lasting tribute to Mat.
The scheme is now being driven by the Upper Don Walk Trust.
Much of the money is coming from the former River Don Mill Owners’ Association, an organisation set up to protect their interests in the 19th century.
Although the association ceased to exist in the mid-Sixties, invested funds remain, which are being used for the benefit of the river and its environment.
American industry once relied heavily on Sheffield steelmakers, both for imports of metal and manufactured goods and the expertise of its craftsmen.
The original Brooklyn Bridge, which was completed in 1883, was made with Sheffield steel.