Closure of Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge

Published on 22/07/2015

Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge will be closed to pedestrians and cyclists in the autumn for 12 months whilst major works to restore the bridge are carried out. The bridge will stay open over the summer.

Diversion for pedestrians and cyclists

A signed diversion that uses Brunel Way will be in place for pedestrians and cyclists who use the bridge during the construction period.

A plan of the diversion route will be shared a number of weeks in advance of the closure to make sure people who use the bridge are aware of the diversion and can adjust their travel plans accordingly.

Information boards about the diversion will also be placed on the main pedestrian and cycling routes to the bridge in advance of the closure of the bridge.


Why the bridge is being closed

Due to health and safety reasons the bridge will have to be closed during construction. Works to the bridge include shot-blasting to repair corrosion damage, replacing the bridge’s badly corroded deck plates and a lane for MetroBus vehicles.

A spokesperson at Travelwest said: “We apologise to users of the bridge for any inconvenience the closure will cause. We’ll shortly share a plan of the diversion. We’ll be placing information boards on the main routes to the bridge to make sure people can adjust their travel arrangements before the bridge closes in the autumn. The diversion will also be clearly signposted in advance of the closure.”

“MetroBus will restore a decaying piece of Victorian infrastructure and return it to its original role as a public transport corridor. These major works will also improve the bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. The new walking and cycling path across the bridge will be wider, smoother and safer than the current path.”

“Providing high quality public transport is the only way of attracting large numbers of people to leave their cars at home and MetroBus will do just that.”


MetroBus works

MetroBus works to the bridge include:

  • A separate single signalled lane for the MetroBus.
  • A 3.5 metre pedestrian and cycle track that is wider, smoother and safer environment than the current pathway.
  • Repair of all areas of corrosion damage which would otherwise compromise the long term durability of the bridge.
  • Removal of graffiti and vegetation from piers and bridge deck.
  • Removal of temporary repair measures including metal mesh fencing.
  • Replacement of badly corroded deck plates.
  • Repairs to trusses to allow drainage modification works which will reduce future.


About the bridge

The former double-deck road and rail bridge was constructed as part of the Bristol Harbour Railway which began operating in 1872.

The bridge opened in 1906 and was used by freight trains until the mid-1980s.

The now non-existent top deck carried road traffic out of Bristol before the Cumberland Basin road network was built.

The Grade 2 listed bridge is on Bristol City Council’s Listed Building At Risk Register which describes the bridge as being in a very bad condition with clear signs of structural instability. The register says the bridge in its current state is at “immediate risk of further rapid deterioration”.

English Heritage were consulted on the plans for the bridge and support the works to conserve it.