£3.5m boost to make key re­pairs to his­toric bridge

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS - Richard Mills Se­nior re­porter richard.mills@reach­plc.com

Es­sen­tial re­pairs can now be made to Bath’s his­toric Cleve­land Bridge thanks to a £3.5m boost from the govern­ment.

B&NES Coun­cil said the fund­ing was an­nounced as part of a £93m drive to im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity across Eng­land.

The coun­cil is among 32 local au­thor­i­ties that will re­ceive in­vest­ment for es­sen­tial repair works to im­prove its in­fra­struc­ture.

The 194-year-old bridge has a tem­po­rary 18-tonne weight re­stric­tion on it af­fect­ing heavy goods ve­hi­cles and larger coaches. It is be­ing en­forced by po­lice spotchecks, says the coun­cil.

Cllr Joanna Wright, joint cab­i­net mem­ber for trans­port ser­vices, said: “I am de­lighted to hear that our bid for Govern­ment fund­ing has been suc­cess­ful.

“We will now be able to move for­ward with our ur­gent plans to repair Cleve­land Bridge by ap­point­ing a con­trac­tor and fi­nal­is­ing de­tails of the work, which we hope will be­gin in early April.

“The bridge is a strate­gic part of the highways net­work to keep traf­fic flow­ing for mo­torists and this fund­ing will en­able us to se­cure the bridge’s fu­ture.

“We would like to thank our col­leagues at the West of Eng­land Com­bined Au­thor­ity for their sup­port in this bid.”

The re­stric­tion was put in place ahead of the es­sen­tial re­pairs to the Grade II listed struc­ture which are planned for later in the spring.

Sur­veys show some struc­tural parts of the bridge have come to the end of their life and the weight re­stric­tion seeks to prevent fur­ther de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the bridge and in­creased cost of re­pairs.

Roads Min­is­ter Baroness Vere said: “There is noth­ing more frus­trat­ing than a journey de­layed by poor road con­di­tions, and this multi-mil­lion pound boost will help im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity across the coun­try.

“This in­vest­ment will not only help local ar­eas to tar­get cur­rent pinch points on their roads, but will also har­ness our world-lead­ing re­search and in­no­va­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties to fu­ture proof the next gen­er­a­tion of jour­neys.”

The coun­cil sub­mit­ted its fund­ing bid to the Govern­ment’s Highways Maintenanc­e Chal­lenge Fund.

Signed di­ver­sion routes, us­ing roads suit­able for large ve­hi­cles, are in place for through traf­fic while those ve­hi­cles need­ing to go into Bath city cen­tre are di­rected to the city from the west us­ing the A4.

The dis­tance on the di­ver­sion from Bath to Warmin­ster is 25 miles; the normal dis­tance us­ing the A36 is 17 miles.

The di­ver­sion would add eight miles to jour­neys for traf­fic head­ing to the south.

Cllr Dine Romero, Cllr Joanna Wright, Baroness Vere and Kelvin Packer, head of highways for Bath and North East Somerset Coun­cil on Cleve­land Bridge

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