Plans in place to refurbish Grade II listed bridge
The refurbishment of a popular Grade II listed bridge spanning the River Wye will get underway in spring next year.
The Tintern Wireworks Bridge, which lies on the border of Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, is in poor condition and in need of significant repairs.
The bridge is jointly owned by Gloucestershire County Council and Monmouthshire County Council with Gloucestershire having the responsibility for bridge inspections and maintenance.
Earlier this year survey work was carried out by specialist contractors to establish the condition of the bridge, the extent of the repairs required and to inform the design work necessary to plan the refurbishment.
This detailed study revealed that repairs are essential to prevent the bridge from becoming unsafe to use.
The county council has now concluded that due to its deteriorating condition, it will not be possible to keep the bridge open for pedestrians and cyclists until October 2022, which has been suggested.
Temporary works are being investigated that could be carried out to make this possible, but this would incur significant additional cost which may not prove to be considered value for money for the wider community.
Although the bridge is a public right of way (footpath) it has never been a publicly adopted highway as it is not suitable for vehicles to use.
There is an agreement in place to allow light vehicles to access individual properties and land on the Gloucestershire side. However, the county council has the right to close the bridge if it deteriorates to such a condition that it is no longer safe for vehicles to use.
The difficult decision was made to close the bridge to vehicles in August 2021 as a result of serious safety concerns due to the worsening condition of the structure and the risk of continued vehicle use worsening the decline.
The bridge is currently still open for pedestrians and cyclists but the condition is being regularly monitored and if necessary use will be further restricted to maintain public safety.
The design work for the refurbishment is currently being finalised. Contractors will then be selected early in the new year with work due to get underway in spring next year; taking around nine months to complete.
- Full removal of the timber deck and replacement with a steel deck to meet the required capacity. This will have a timber look finish to meet heritage requirements
- Strengthening of the structure, including the installation of new box beams to replace the existing corroding steel infrastructure
- The structure will be fully enclosed for grit blasting and painting
- The masonry supports will be repointed to extend their life
Some of these activities make any access impossible across the bridge, such as the deck being fully removed for a significant period of the construction, so it will not be possible to keep the bridge open while these aspects of the works are carried out.
Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways said: “It’s great news that this iconic bridge is going to be refurbished so it will be available to use for many years to come.
“By pressing ahead with the planning and delivery of this essential work we will be able to minimise the time needed for the bridge closure, reduce the risk of bad weather potentially impacting on construction and take full advantage of the longer daylight hours. We apologise for the disruption and inconvenience caused by these essential repairs, but we must put the safety of the public, and all bridge users, first.”
Local county councillor Chris McFarling said: “I know the closure of this bridge will be inconvenient. I’d like to thank people in advance for their patience; whilst working with the community to explore alternative access solutions if resources can be found. This bridge has important heritage value and I’m sure everyone will be really pleased with its restoration.”
A webpage containing more information about the scheme can be accessed here: www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/tintern-bridge