Smiles return as bridge re-painting comes to an end

Editor John Elworthy (right) with Pippa;

Editor John Elworthy (right) with Pippa; and left her Pippa's Pantry. With, of course, Cross Keys Swing Bridge which is nearby. - Credit: Archant/Lincs county council

It is as iconic a British tea shop as you'll find anywhere, and where the smiles have returned to the faces of Pippa Burrows and her team.  

Like other small businesses in Sutton Bridge Pippa’s Pantry has been affected by hold-ups because of the repainting of the Cross Keys Swing Bridge on the busy A17.

Nicely re-painted, the Cross Keys Swing Bridge at Sutton Bridge

Nicely re-painted, the Cross Keys Swing Bridge at Sutton Bridge - Credit: Lincs county council

For nearly five long months Pippa’s tea shop has suffered from the mayhem caused by traffic lights necessary to control the flow whilst work was carried out.  

But at the weekend the traffic lights were removed and life can, slowly, return to normal.  

"It just feels great to be back to normal with free-flowing traffic,” she said.  

Life back to normal at Pippa's Pantry, Sutton Bridge

Life back to normal at Pippa's Pantry, Sutton Bridge - Credit: Archant

People can get to work on time, and the school runs are back to normal. 

“I’m not going to lie - it was a tough four months for us, it really was. 

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“But I’m now putting that behind us, because the community support was second to none during this time.” 

Editor John Elworthy on a visit earlier this year to Pippa at Pippa's Pantry

Editor John Elworthy on a visit earlier this year to Pippa at Pippa's Pantry - Credit: Archant

“Since the end of February, the works have been ongoing to repaint and repair the swing bridge,” said a spokesperson for Lincs county council. 

“It’s been nearly two decades since the bridge was last painted and during that time a combination of tidal salt water and high volumes of traffic had seen the existing paint deteriorate. 

“Because of that this painting and refurb programme was put in place to continue protection of the structure’s steelwork.” 

The spokesperson said: “Throughout the works, the bridge itself had to remain operational for shipping movements with the river Nene continuing to operate as a major route for waterborne transport. 

“During the life of the scheme, there were some unavoidable overnight road closures. 

“These were when particularly difficult areas of the bridge were being painted – such as the ends of the bridge itself. 

“And on public holidays all traffic management around the works were removed to reduce the amount of disruption for road users at key times.” 

Cllr Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “This has been a huge project and we appreciate that disruption was faced by road users at peak times. 

"We did everything possible for this to be minimalized, but there was still inevitable impact on those wishing to cross the bridge instead of using the diversionary route in place.”