Pedestrians queued for the opening of a bridge over troubled waters.

Walkers and cyclists coming to and from Elland town centre had been forced to take round trips of several miles after the Boxing Day floods wrecked the town’s historic bridge.

But the detour was ended after a metal bridge across the Calder and Hebble Navigation was opened on Friday afternoon.

The bridge, measuring 50m across, will allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the canal until December, when it is expected the main Elland Bridge will be rebuilt.

The temporary structure, erected by civil engineering firm Keir, is part of a £5.5m project to restore Elland Bridge.

The cash was released after floods buckled the bridge and cracked the road surface making it unsafe for vehicles and pedestrians.

The temporary bridge took two weeks to build.

Ian Ward, project manager for Keir, said: “Everyone has worked hard to get it open and it will be a lot more convenient for people.”

Among those waiting to cross was retired bridge engineer Richard Kay who had campaigned for Calderdale Council and the Rivers and Canals Trust to open a temporary bridge after it was announced that Elland Bridge was unlikely to re-open for a year.

READ MORE: Calderdale check on safety of 124 bridges after Christmas floods

READ MORE: Flooding: Government Minister sees the damage wreaked in Calderdale

Mr Kay, of Rastrick, said: “It seemed like the obvious thing to do, to help businesses and help get people into Elland.

“It’s been a real inconvenience for a lot of people.

“The response has been quite good. I know Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has been pushing for it.

“I know personally when I’ve seen bridges in Leeds close it causes difficulties for people.”

Watch: Project manager talks about new bridge

Video Loading

Elland resident Raymond Smith was the first to cross the temporary footbridge.

Mr Smith, 77, said: “I came over Elland Bridge just a few hours before it collapsed.

“We have friends who live in houses on the other side.”

Elland constable Ian Shaw-Peters said the lack of a bridge had been a real problem for people in wheelchairs.

PC Shaw-Peters said: “For people who can’t walk across the small footbridge nearby it’s a long round trip.

“The bridge is going to make Elland accessible again to vulnerable people.”