Gaol Ferry Bridge to reopen in ‘coming months’ - as next Bristol bridge to close is announced
‘We can’t wait to reopen it so people can start using it again‘
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Gaol Ferry Bridge - a major walkway linking Southville with Bristol city centre - will reopen in the ‘coming months’, according to Mayor Marvin Rees who has also revealed the next bridge to close as part of a repair programme.
The bridge across the Avon Cut to Spike Island closed in August last year for repairs which were initially down to take between six to nine months. However, due to the poor state of the steel work, the project has taken longer than expected, and impacted local businesses.
In his blog published today, Mr Rees has said the £1.5million ‘essential works’ to the bridge were coming to an end with two final sections of the bridge now needing to be repaired and painted ‘before we reopen it in the coming months’.
The mayor also revealed that Sparke Evans Bridge, linking Sparke Evans Park and the Paintworks, will be the next to close for repairs as part of a programme of work on seven bridges, which also include Vauxhall Bridge, Langton Street Bridge (also known as the Banana Bridge), the twin bridges of Bedminster Bridge, and Bath Bridge.
When will Gaol Ferry Bridge open?
While the council has given not exact date, the fact it is already looking at the next bridge to work on signals repair work is coming to an end. Mr Rees said the final two sections of the bridge are now being worked on, adding it would reopen in the ‘coming months’.
The work included replacing the structural steelwork and rotten timbers, repairing the steel lattice work and some stonework, and repainting it.
Mr Rees said: “It is already looking great, and we can’t wait to reopen it so people can start using it again to access all the businesses at Wapping Wharf, M Shed and beyond.”
Why Sparke Evans bridge?
Sparke Evans was built in 1933 and links the Paintworks with Sparke Evans Park in St Philips. Mr Rees said it had been moved to the top of a list for work after inspectors find it in ‘urgent need of structural repairs’.
Feasibility and inspection work has already started ahead of a full closure of the bridge to the repairs to be carried out. The council believe it will cost between £1.5m and £2m to carry out.
More will be known as the decking is taken off the bridge, which can be bouncy on the foot when crossing. When closed, it is likely pedestrians will be diverted over Totterdown Bridge.
What other bridges will be worked on?
The council’s programme work includes refurbishing Vauxhall Bridge, Langton Street Bridge (also known as the Banana Bridge), the twin bridges of Bedminster Bridge, and Bath Bridge.
Mr Rees has also revealed that two road bridges also need work. They are Brislington Bridge, which takes Feeder Road over the River Avon, and St Philips Causeway, which goes from Avonmeads to Lawrence Hill. He said both are in need of major structural repairs.
He said: “That’s why cabinet will be asked to agree to invest a total of £1 million on condition assessments, plans of work, and costing proposals. The outcome of these two feasibility studies will help us to decide the long-term future of these structures and agree potential funding bids to the Department for Transport.”