Highway Structural Engineers have said that planned work on Bath’s Midland Bridge is essential if the structure is to remain safe for the public to use in the future.
However, the advice from engineers is, at current levels of deterioration, without this essential work, the bridge won’t last another winter.
With safety the top priority, Bath & North East Somerset Council is spending £1 million on repairing the deterioration and returning the bridge to its former glory.
It means the bridge, which is one of the main routes into the city will be partially-closed for 33 weeks.
Pedestrian access will be maintained, but one lane will be closed for the duration of the works, with traffic diverted from Pinesway along the Lower Bristol Road and across Churchill Bridge back into Green Park Road.
Traffic travelling in the opposite direction will be allowed to enter Pinesway during daylight hours.
For safety reasons full overnight closures will be required periodically.
Advance notice will be given with diversions signs put in place both before and during the works to help keep traffic moving smoothly with minimum disruption.
Bus diversions have been set up and the impact on traffic flow will be monitored regularly.
The work will begin later this month and is expected to be completed later this summer.
Councillor Caroline Roberts (Lib-Dem, Newbridge), Cabinet Member for Transport said: “Although the prolonged closure is regrettable, our engineers’ advice is that this work essential.
“This ambitious project is part of an on-going commitment by the Council to improve key historic highway infrastructure assets and will ensure the longevity of this important link into the city well into the future.”
The bridge supports the important B3118 Midland Bridge Road Link from the Lower Bristol Road to the Pinesway gyratory into Bath City Centre at Green Park.
Due to the nature of the works it is difficult to determine the extent of any necessary repairs, but engineers’ experience of working on similar structures has been used to plan and programme the works.
However, the bridge deck waterproof membrane and movement joints at either end will be replaced to ensure its future integrity and prolong the serviceable life of the structure.
The paint coating of all steelwork will also be removed enabling repairs to be carried out before re-painting.
The works will be carried out in collaboration with Raymond Brown Construction Limited following a competitive tender process.
The steel lattice girder bridge was originally installed in 1905 by the Corporation of the City of Bath, and was opened on 12th December 1905 by Alderman A. Taylor.