The flood-damaged Elland Bridge will have to be demolished and replaced according to the area’s politicians.
And it will take around a year for the massive project to be completed.
But the town has been offered a temporary bridge from a businessman and a temporary footbridge is already in place.
Calderdale Labour Party has just put out a statement about the bridge, owned by the Canal and River Trust, in which it says: “It is the view of Calderdale Highways, the Canal and River Trust and their contractors that a new bridge will be required to replace the existing damaged structure. We have requested the Canal and River Trust make an immediate start to designing a replacement for Elland Bridge. Unfortunately this will be a major project and initial estimates are that a new bridge would not be in operation until at least December 2016.
As a short-term solution businessman Dave Shaw from Doncaster has offered to donate a substantial 16-metre structure.
He talked about the bridge on a radio phone in and was overheard by Chris Pearson, councillor for Greetland and Stainland, who immediately contacted him.
Now they are waiting for the go-ahead from Calderdale Council, which has agreed to assess the bridge to see if it could be suitable to install across the Calder Hebble Navigation either in Elland to help people cross into town or in Copley.
Elland lost its major access route Elland Bridge in the Boxing Day floods, while Copley lost one that was 184 years old that was an important access for a cluster of homes.
Clr Pearson heard Mr Shaw, who runs a skip and scrapyard and was put in contact with him the following day.
Clr Pearson said he hopes the assessment will be completed early this week, allowing the installation process to begin.
“I spoke to Mr Shaw on New Year’s Eve and he agreed to let the council assess it,” he said. “I thought it could be put to good use as a replacement for one of the bridges we lost.
“It’s a substantial steel non-slip structure that was built for the Nottingham tramway and could be wide enough for a car but definitely suitable as a footbridge.
“I’d prefer if it could replace the 184-year-old Copley bridge by St Stephen’s Church, near to where some residents could now end up stranded if the alternative route gets icy .
“But it could also be put over the canal near Park Road in Elland where I understand the remaining footbridge is not in the best condition.
Clr Pearson is now awaiting the council’s decision about his idea.
He added: “It was a bit frustrating trying to get people in the council to give me a straight answer about whether they wanted it and time scales which I wanted because otherwise the bridge could have been given to a community elsewhere.
“They’ve agreed to assess its suitability and, hopefully, they will use it.
“If so, it’s possible the army, who have been helping in the upper Calder Valley, could help install it with their engineers.”
Talking about why he donated it, Mr Shaw said: “I just wanted to help people in need. I thought it can’t just sit there while it’s waiting to be sold.”
Work began on Saturday by the Canal and River Trust (CRT) to install another temporary footbridge in Elland between two locks and two parallel towpaths, one which adjoins Park Road.
The bridge is directly opposite Park Road Crematorium and provides a pedestrian link from Park Road over the canal into Lowfields Business Park allowing access into Elland.
But the Labour Party states: “However, after our highways staff inspected the site on Saturday afternoon officers are concerned that the bridge is not wide enough to accommodate a pushchair and a child side by side. This is particularly important as there maybe a number of children and parents walking to and from local schools.
“We have therefore requested Canal and River Trust to return and widen the bridge from its present 0.9 metres to 1.5 metres.
“This will be done first thing on Monday morning.”
The statement adds: “The footbridge above is a very short-term solution and we have asked CRT and their contractors to look at a longer-term pedestrian footbridge. This will be located parallel to Elland bridge but the exact location is not yet known.
“At the same time a structure needs to be provided for the various utilities and services that are routed over the bridge (fibre optics, electric, gas, water). We are expecting the feasibility work to be completed in the next seven days with an agreed action plan no later than Monday, January 11.”