June date proposed for start of multi-million-pound bridge improvement programme

Photo of Gaol Ferry Bridge Bristol

Cabinet will be asked to approve initial funding to begin works to six bridges along the New Cut.

A multi-million-pound investment in some of the city’s most iconic and much used bridges has been proposed to deliver necessary repairs and maintenance over a five-year period.

The works required to six bridges along the New Cut include joint repairs, resurfacing and masonry strengthening to ensure each remains open and safe for many years to come.

The six bridges that make up this proposal are Bath Bridge, Bedminster New Bridge, Bedminster Old Bridge, Gaol Ferry Bridge, Langton Street Footbridge and Vauxhall Footbridge.

It’s proposed that the investment begins with works to Gaol Ferry Bridge to replace the structural steel beams, replace the bridge decking, repair some stonework, and repaint the bridge. Should the £1 million funding for the repair and refurbishment works receive Cabinet approval, Gaol Ferry Bridge will completely close in June this year and remain shut for the duration of the works which are expected to last six months. Every effort is being made to complete works and reopen the bridge as soon as possible.

The proposed repairs to the six bridges along the New Cut and sections of the river wall will be discussed and decided on at the upcoming meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday 10 May.

Councillor Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: 

Profile of Cllr Don Alexander

Each of these bridges provide important car, walking, cycling and public transport routes which contribute greatly to connecting neighbourhoods along the River Avon. This proposed investment emphasises the critical role of each of these bridges and how vital it is that we invest now to ensure they continue to provide safe and useable routes for many years to come.

I am pleased we are in a position to give a concrete approach to how we’ll tackle this challenge and put Gaol Ferry Bridge forward to be the first for refurbishment. Our highways and structures teams have been working on developing the proposed plan for this bridge with a focus on trying to minimise the impact on people who use the bridge and local businesses.

This work has ensured that a range of options have been considered and the best possible solution available is being put forward. Although I recognise this will result in some disruption for people we will stay in touch with local businesses and the community to keep everyone updated on the work. The diversions being put in place will be clearly signposted and communicated across all media.

Councillor Don Alexander Cabinet Member for Transport

The diversions planned for the closure will signpost people along routes via Bedminster Bridges and Bathurst Bridge or across Vauxhall Bridge.

These routes have been informed by work carried out earlier this year when officers surveyed people who cross and use the footbridge to find out where they were travelling from and heading to, and the reasons and timings of their journeys. The results are being used to map out the various diversionary routes to minimise disruption while the footbridge is closed.

Funding for the proposed repairs and maintenance would come mostly from the recently agreed City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) funding with £500k identified in the existing Highways Capital Budget approved by Full Council in February 2022.
Link to bristol.gov.uk