Businesses hopeful trade will pick up after Iron Bridge restoration
A business owner said she suffered an 80 per cent loss of trade while the Iron Bridge was being renovated.
Sarah Greenow, from Gray's of Shropshire, said she hoped footfall would increase after a "very difficult time".
Other businesses agreed that times had been tough, but added that the newly renovated Iron bridge, along with the new planned lighting scheme, would bring more trade in the long run.
Ms Greenow said: “As a business owner investing in the town we have endured a very difficult time during the renovation of the Iron Bridge with an 80 per cent loss of trade.
"We really hope that we have a grand unveiling to encourage the footfall back into the town.
"English Heritage has invested in the future of the bridge and we look forward to our joint investments in the area rewarding everyone including the locals and tourists alike for many years to come."
Richard Eley, of Eley's Pork Pies, added: “We are very much looking forward to getting the Iron Bridge back as it's been a tough time for the whole town – residents, businesses and visitors – during the restoration of the bridge.
"The new colour has polarised opinions so the best thing to do is to come and see it for yourself and make up your own mind.
"When the new lighting scheme is installed it should be spectacular and is great news for Ironbridge."
The work is being done as part of a £3.6 million conservation project by English Heritage.
It is the single largest conservation project undertaken by the charity since 2015. The work was started after extensive surveys of the area revealed that the historic structure was under threat from cracking due to stresses in the ironwork dating from the original construction, ground movement over the centuries, and an earthquake in the 19th century.
Councillor Nicola Lowery, borough councillor for the Ironbridge Gorge said: “It is so exciting to see the Iron Bridge being gradually revealed and absolutely wonderful to see the structure stand in all its glory after months of being covered while the vital conservation works take place.
"I have been speaking with many of our local business and appreciate that the conservation work has greatly impacted our community, but I am delighted to see that the end is in sight.
"We have spoken to English Heritage about delivering an unveiling event and hope we as a community can celebrate the bridge’s return with a special unveiling. The Iron Bridge continues to draw visitors from around the world and stands as a beacon of the industrial revolution.
"The bridge has been greatly missed and I know many within our community are looking forward to see our iconic structure restored to its former glory at the heart of our community."
The project began in autumn 2017. A protective layer of primer has been used across the bridge to prevent corrosion and replacement iron wedges were cast.
The red being used to paint the bridge was chosen after forensic analysis revealed it was its original colour.