Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Safety fears close bridge over River Avon in Bath

Victoria bridge over the River Avon in Bath was re-opened last week after a safety scare had closed it since August, but it has been closed again this week. The bridge is an important link between the two parts of Victoria Road for cyclists and pedestrians and users fear a lengthy closure.

Victoria Bridge over the River Avon in Bath: Picture by Bob Naylor

Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) will not say what the problem is, but a spokesman did say, "We must make a decision which balances public safety with the wish for pedestrians and cyclists to move freely around the city.
     "Following an interim assessment report from our structural engineers, the council decided to re-open the bridge at a reduced width.
     "Further structural investigations have now taken place and in response to new information we have decided that the bridge should be closed to all users in the interests of public safety. He concluded,  "We await a final report from our structural engineers and we can then consider the most effective long-term solution."
An artists impression of Victoria Bridge as part of the proposed
Bath Western River Development

The bridge forms part of the plans for the controversial Bath Western River development between Victoria Bridge and Windsor Bridge to provide 2,200 homes.

Victoria Bridge, designed by Bath engineer James Dredge, was completed in 1836. This bridge, along with the many other bridges all over the world that he designed is a radical alternative to the established suspension bridge design.
     Another example of one of his bridges can be seen spanning the Kennet & Avon Canal at Wilcot — linking parts of the Stowell Park Estate near Pewsey.

To find out more about James Dredge and his bridges go to: 
Derrick Hunt's-James Dredge website 

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