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Lydbrook Bridge to re-open


Following the successful completion of safety work on the Lydbrook Bridge a temporary solution will be put in place so the bridge can be re-opened.

Lydbrook Bridge, known locally as Stowfield Viaduct or the Black Bridge, was built in 1875 to take the railway across the River Wye. The rail line was closed in 1964 and the bridge deck was refurbished to form a walkway. The bridge was closed in 2016 due to safety concerns.

In February an application was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a scheme that would allow the structure to be repaired to secure the long term future of the bridge. However, in July notification was received that the bid was unsuccessful.

The poor condition of the bridge meant that safety work began in June to make sure that river traffic and walkers continued to be safe when passing underneath. The safety work will finish at the end of September.

Good access to the bridge structure during the safety work has allowed a further opportunity to take stock of the bridge condition. As a result, engineers have been able to devise a safe, workable, short-term solution to get the bridge re-opened.

A temporary walkway will now be added to the bridge supported by the remaining columns and beams. It is anticipated the temporary walkway will open to the public on 24th September.

The best long term solution to restore the river crossing needs to be found; this will be dependent on the level of funding that can be secured and when it becomes available.

Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways said, “I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to come up with a safe way to temporarily get this important walkway open again.

“Following the disappointment of the unsuccessful Heritage Lottery Fund bid this is a real boost.”

Cllr Terry Hale, county councillor for Drybrook and Lydbrook said, “I know how much the local community and our visitors value this key crossing point over the river that forms part of the popular Wye Valley Walk.

“As a result I’ve done all I can to support the work to get the bridge re-opened and I hope that like me, people will be delighted that this will now happen and much sooner than we’d originally thought. I will continue to support everyone’s efforts to find a long term solution.”

Herefordshire Council is working with Gloucestershire County Council to ensure the long term sustainability of Lydbrook Bridge.

Cllr Barry Durkin, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for transport and regulatory services, said: “Obviously the news regarding the Heritage Lottery Fund bid is disappointing, but because of our proactive partnership work I’m sure people from both sides of the river will be delighted to know that the bridge will soon be accessible on foot once again.

“We would like to thank residents and visitors to Lydbrook for their continuing patience whilst the repair works take place.”

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