The stretch of water from Widcombe Lock (7) the bottom Lock in the Bath Flight — to Weston Lock (6) on the River Avon is closed and there is no forecast of when it might be open for navigation in the future.
Victoria Bridge—closed to pedestrians and cyclists Picture by Bob Naylor©
Boats cannot use this part of the River Avon because experts say that a footbridge is too dangerous for boats to go under it.
Victoria Bridge has been closed to cyclists and pedestrians since October — and last week the towpath alongside the river was closed. Bath and North East Somerset Council say that they are looking into the possibility of a £400,000 temporary repair 'by the summer' with hopes of a full restoration by 2013.
Victoria Bridge looking splendid in the artist's impression of the Bath Riverside Development
The historic Victoria Bridge was the centrepiece of the controversial 2,000-home Bath Riverside development and local people are expressing dismay that the work has started on the houses but the bridge repair was not part of the agreement between Crest Nicholson and B&NES for the first phase of the project.
A B&NES spokesman said, "The latest inspection of Victoria Bridge by the council’s independent structural engineers has revealed further deterioration of the structure especially on one of the central hangars. This is a serious issue because any weakness in the central area of the bridge increases the risk to the structure. We will be implementing temporary emergency strapping to help support the bridge this week."
Victoria Bridge is a Grade 2 listed structure and it is an example of the work of Bath engineer James Dredge. It was built in 1836 and like the many other bridges he designed that are still in use all over the world it is a radical alternative to the established suspension bridge design.
To find out more about Dredge bridges go to➤➤ Derrick Hunt's-James Dredge website