A TOWN has been split in two yet again after its swing bridge has jammed shut in the open position.

Whitby residents and businesses are currently forced to make a three-mile detour if they want to get from one side of the river to the other – despite a major upgrade on the bridge last year.

Specialist engineers are on their way to fix the Whitby bridge which has locked due to a fault in the hydraulic system.

A shuttle bus is operating currently until the bridge is operational again.

The bridge locked after the jacks came down while the bridge was swinging open for river traffic.

The jacks normally come down to hold the bridge in place for road traffic and so the bridge automatically locked as soon as the fault was detected.

In 2010 and 2011 the bridge broke down twice – with the earlier malfunction lasting almost a week and causing chaos for businesses, residents and tourists.

The bridge, which was built in 1909, was upgraded last year. The upgrade, which included replacement of timber fenders and timber “dolphins” to protect the east and west piers of the bridge in the river, new navigation lights and re-painting of the entire bridge, entailed waterproofing of electric cabling and the raising of electrical junction boxes onto the underside of the bridge above the waterline to prevent breakdown of the bridge mechanisms.

The bridge’s computerised technology was also updated in order for faults to be tracked and located precisely in order to prevent failure and speed up repairs.

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire County Council added: “The work meant that the bridge remained operational during the recent flooding in Whitby and it is hoped that the present mechanical problem can be resolved swiftly.”