The historic 138-year-old bridge is expected to reopen at the end of April/early May after it has been fully tested and recommissioned.
Only southbound traffic movements out of the city will be permitted initially. This is to give the traffic network additional flexibility and capacity to allow two major traffic schemes in Prince Street and at Temple Gate to be completed.
Peter Mann, Service Director for Transport at Bristol City Council, said:
“This was the first major refurbishment of Prince St Bridge since it was constructed back in 1879 and on close examination it was clear the works were absolutely essential due to the overall poor condition of the structure. The reconstruction works have been complex due to the age and Grade 2 listed status of the bridge and included operational, mechanical and electrical upgrades. It has taken time to complete and we are grateful for the public’s patience during the project as we needed to safeguard the bridge’s future use for everyone.
“The bridge is an important piece of our transport infrastructure so we have carefully worked through a range of options on how different road users might use it in future. We are confident we have come up with the right balance which considers current and forthcoming roadworks and their impact on our network, in particular on safety, congestion and overall performance. This applies whether you travel by car, bike or on foot.
“We need to see how these new changes work but the southbound-only traffic route is likely to be in place until at least summer 2018, at which point the usage of the bridge will be reviewed again.”
A number of innovative materials and techniques have been employed to refurbish and modernise the bridge as the overall condition was revealed to be significantly worse than initially envisaged once engineers started to remove panels. The refurbishment works will be completed in late April/early May.
A cycle improvement scheme on Prince Street connecting Cumberland Road to Baldwin Street and Broad Quay will begin this week. The redesign of Temple Gate and the surrounding area will begin in June. Both these works will mean that traffic flow needs to be managed even more carefully across the central area. Making Prince Street Bridge one-way southbound for the duration of the works will assist as it will allow traffic out of the central area and help reduce traffic pressure during the works.