Refurbishment of Grade 2 listed bridge

We’re currently carrying out a £3.2 million refurbishment of Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge.

We had originally planned that the extensive restoration of the 110 year old bridge would take one year. We soon realised after starting work in September 2015 that the bridge was in a bigger state of disrepair than we initially thought.

We now expect our contractors will finish the refurbishment works by the end of 2016 and then remove the scaffolding surrounding the bridge in early 2017.

We hope to open the bridge to pedestrians and cyclists as soon as it is practical. However, we have to make sure that people using the bridge are kept safe whilst construction works for the guided busway, pedestrian crossing and MetroBus stop continue at both ends of the bridge.

This means we’re delaying opening the bridge a little longer, probably until Spring 2017, so we can complete these other works safely.

We apologise for the delay and promise bridge users that improvements such as the new cycling and walking lane on the bridge and better access to the Harbourside will make it worth the wait.

Recent photographs from inside the bridge (January 2017)

Diversion for pedestrians and cyclists

Whilst the bridge is closed a diversion is in place for pedestrians and cyclists during the construction period.

The diversion  does not use the road and is clearly signposted. Cyclists and pedestrians are segregated and protected from traffic by safety barriers.

Our contractors have made temporary cycling improvements to both Ashmead Way and McAdam Way complement the diversion whilst the bridge is closed.

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.

Photos of the bridge before its refurbishment

Historic photographs of the bridge from the Bristol Record Office collection

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.

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