The huge scale of Operation Bridge in Elland has been revealed - thanks to a high-tech drone.
Footage shot from the drone shows the mammoth task facing engineers working on the painstaking job of taking down the historic Elland Bridge which is being rebuilt after the Boxing Day floods caused catastrophic damage.
Stonework is being removed piece by piece and carefully numbered, in a giant “jigsaw”.
It will then be re-used in a new bridge later this year.
READ MORE: Demolition work underway at Elland Bridge
The aerial footage clearly shows the collapsed roadway over the Calder and Hebble Navigation and the massive cracks in the bridge arch.
The bridge was damaged beyond repair in the devastating Boxing Day floods.
The footage also shows the temporary footbridge erected over the canal and the services bridge carrying power cables and water pipes.
The Canal & River Trust has started pulling down the bridge. Built in around 1811, Elland Bridge is Grade II listed and contractors are taking a sensitive, methodical approach to the works.
Important features are being carefully removed and catalogued so that they can be re-used in the replacement bridge. These include the huge stone copings on the top of the bridge, the dressed stones over the arches (known as voussoirs) and the remains of cast iron rope rollers which allowed boat tow ropes to run smoothly through the bridge back in the days when freight barges were pulled by horse.
The new bridge has been designed to look similar to the existing one but with a strengthened concrete arch inside it.
Once the bridge has been taken down then works to build new foundations will begin. When these are completed, around the end of June, the canal beneath the bridge will be reopened to boaters while the remaining works take place.
It’s anticipated that both bridges will be built and available for use before the end of the year.