Urgent repairs needed to Shrewsbury's historic Welsh Bridge
Shrewsbury's historic Welsh Bridge needs to undergo an extensive and 'very costly and disruptive' repair programme, Shropshire Council has revealed.
Numerous defects, from crumbling balustrades to cracked coping stones and overgrown vegetation, were identified by council officers early last year.
In the summer, a member of the public reported a fault on one section of the bridge and urgent repair work was carried out in December, leading to the road being closed overnight.
The council's head of engineering has now said that a 'comprehensive' programme of works needs to be carried out.
Gurnek Singh, Shropshire Council’s engineering services and bridges manager, said: “Welsh Bridge is a multi-span Grade II Listed Structure built circa 1795.
"A detailed bridge inspection was carried out by our term consultant in March 2019, which identified numerous defects with the stone balustrade parapets over the bridge. A number of the vertical balustrades and coping stones were noted to be loose, cracked and severely weathered, along with vegetation and small saplings attached to the parapet faces.
“A further report of a loose stone coping was reported by a member of the public in August 2019. Essential repairs were carried out in early December 2019 to make safe a short section of dislodged coping and remove general vegetation.
“However, the remainder of the bridge parapets are in poor condition, and these repairs will be both very costly and disruptive to road users and the wider community.
"A comprehensive maintenance/refurbishment scheme will therefore be required to replace the entire parapets on both sides of the bridge. The feasibility, timing and costs associated with these works will be looked at by council engineers working closely with the term consultant.
“A scheme will be fully developed taking into account the heritage and conservation status of the bridge, and included in a countywide forward programme for bridgeworks. All affected stakeholders will be consulted about the likely timing, phasing, impact and inconvenience that any works may cause.
"All bridge works undertaken by the council are carried out on a risk-based approach taking into account the risks to public safety and subject to budget availability.”