Gaol Ferry Bridge: Users react to announced closure for repairs

‘It is a travesty they even let the bridge get that bad’

Users of Gaol Ferry Bridge, which connects Southville and Bedminster to Bristol city centre, have reacted to news the bridge will be closed for at least six months.

Bristol City Council has announced that the bridge will be closed from April until the end of the year to carry out essential work to repair structural steelwork and replace rotten timbers.

Council officers are currently surveying people who cross it in order to plan for diversionary routes.

On Monday (January 31) we asked people on the bridge how the closure would impact them.

Josh Burges said: “This bridge is great and I’m glad it’s being redone, but it is going to make it so much harder for people who either walk or cycle to the shops here or even work.

Worn Parts of the Bridge

“It’s all well and good encouraging us to be more green but we can’t do that if we can’t walk to the other side.”

He added: “One option could be to build a temporary bridge that way people would still be able to cross in a similar place which would drastically reduce the problem.”

Miles Allanson, who lives in Windmill Hill, said the bridge was on his route to work.

He said: “It’s going to add at least 10 minutes onto the commute which doesn’t sound like much but it just makes it that tiny bit more effort to get there on time.”

Meanwhile, Heather, who did not wish to giver her surname and lives near the bridge, said: “It is a travesty they even let the bridge get that bad.”

Wapping Wharf from Gaol Ferry Bridge

She added: “Walking up the road to Asda or back down towards the first bridge is all well and good but Wapping Wharf is going to feel it.

“So many of my friends pop over and come for a coffee as its so easy I don’t think it’ll happen that much anymore.”

In his latest blog, Mayor Marvin Rees wrote about the planned repair work to the bridge, along with five others - Vauxhall Bridge, Langton Street Bridge, Sparke Evans Park Bridge, Bedminster Bridge and Bath Bridge.

He said: “Sadly, like much of the physical infrastructure in the city they have suffered from decades of neglect. We’re now attempting to put that right.”

He added: “We know that this work will cause inconvenience for people as they are used by thousands every day, but they are all in need of repair.

“We will do everything we can to minimise the impact to people’s day-to-day lives, but there is no alternative for these busy and well-used routes.”

The ornate suspension bridge was built in the 1930s to replace the ferry that crossed at that point from south Bristol to the city’s gaol - the ramp to the ferry departure point still exists and can be seen on the Coronation Road side of the bridge next to St Paul’s Churchyard.