Before the MetroBus 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.
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.