x
1

Major Updates

Bridge now open to pedestrians and cyclists

You can now walk and cycle across Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge. The 110 year old bridge has been closed since October 2016 whilst MetroBus have been carrying out an extensive £3.8 million restoration.

Before the restoration, the Grade 2 listed bridge was in a very bad condition with clear signs of structural instability. MetroBus’ refurbishment has completely transformed the bridge and preserved an important part of Bristol’s walking and cycling infrastructure for future generations. The bridge now has a 3.5 metre pedestrian and cycle track that is wider, smoother and safer than the previous path.

Construction work will continue at either end of the bridge after the reopening. The busway on the bridge will be fenced off until testing for MetroBus’ guided buses starts this summer.

Before the busway opens the path that runs parallel to the river and links with the Pill path will be slightly realigned near the bridge to improve visibility for all users. There will also be a break in the busway to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross.

When services start MetroBus will use a separate single signalled lane on the bridge.

Diversion route in place for final construction phase (June 2017)

Construction works for the new MetroBus busway across the bridge will continue through the summer. Whilst these works are taking place access to the southern end of the bridge is from the eastern (Riverside Garden Centre) approach only.

Pedestrians and cyclists approaching from the western (Avon Bridge) side need to cross the green pedestrian footbridge to access Ashton Avenue Bridge.

The temporary ramp on Brunel Way has been removed. Ramp access to Brunel Way is still available via the existing ramp on the other side of Brunel Way. View a plan of the diversion route below.

Photos of the refurbished bridge (May 2017)

Photos of the refurbishment work

Photos of the bridge before the refurbishment

Why the bridge is closed

Whilst we’re restoring the bridge we have to ensure the public are not exposed to any safety risks.

Works we’re carrying out to the bridge include:

  • shot blasting of corrosion damage,
  • bolted and welded repairs to trusses for drainage modification works,
  • replacement of badly corroded bridge deck plates,
  • removal of graffiti and vegetation from piers and bridge deck,
  • removal of the existing temporary repair measures,
  • creation of a new 3.5 metre pedestrian and cycle track that is wider, smoother and safer environment than the current pathway,
  • creation of a separate single signalled lane for MetroBus.

Did you know?

The former double-deck road and rail bridge was constructed as part of the Bristol Harbour Railway. Construction started on the bridge in 1905 and it opened a year later in 1906.

The original bridge comprised of 1,500 tonnes of metalwork. Its length is 177 metres.

The bridge cost £70,389 to build in 1906 which is equivalent to £7.6 million in the present day.

The bridge opened on average ten times a day until 1936. It became a fixed structure when it was secured into its current position in 1951.

The bridge had an unusual top deck which carried road traffic out of Bristol. The road deck was removed in 1965 following the completion of the Cumberland Basin road network.The bridge was used by freight trains until 1985.

English Heritage made the bridge a Grade 2 listed structure in 2000.

Historic photos of the bridge

Know Your Place

More historic photographs of the bridge and the local area can be found on the Know Your Place website. Know Your Place allows you to explore your neighbourhood through historic maps, images and linked information. The website also allows you to share your own information and images of historic Bristol.

Subscribe to travel updates, news, and offers

By signing up you are agreeing to our terms and conditions and privacy policy Preferences