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End of Severn Bridge safety inspection leads to full closure over weekend

16 Mar 2023 2 minute read
The main cables on the bridge are wedged open for inspections to take place

The Severn Bridge (Pont Hafren) safety inspection which started nine months ago has come to an end.

Pont Hafren is the original, and oldest, of two bridges over the River Severn connecting south east Wales with England.

National Highways – formerly known as Highways England – said the bridge will be fully closed to traffic over the weekend, to enable the inspection gantries to be removed by crane.

Earlier this month Nation.Cymru reported that Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies, and other Welsh MPs, had voiced concern over the state of the Severn Bridge.

Mr Davies, the Conservative MP for Monmouth, spoke of the deteriorating condition of the Severn Bridge when giving evidence to the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

Ruth Jones, the Labour MP for Newport West said at the time: “There are a lot of issues with the old Severn Bridge at the moment.”

Complex issues

National Highways started their safety inspection in June 2022, and on eight sections across the two main suspension cables.

National Highways Project Manager, Chris Pope, said: “It has been a long and complex task to carry out this work and we have opened up over 900 metres of cables.

“Carrying out these essential cable inspection works will help us to keep the bridge safe and open for many years to come.

“They enable us to establish the current condition of the suspension cables and ensure the long-term viability and safety of the bridge.”

Corrosion was first discovered in 2006 in the bridge cables and measures have been undertaken to minimise any further damage.

Remarkable footage of the last inspection gantry being lowered

Project Manager Mr Pope added: “We will need to complete some laboratory testing of samples and analyse the findings of the inspections but so far the results are in line with what we expected.”

The bridge will be fully closed to traffic from 7pm tomorrow (Friday 17 March) to 6am on Monday 20 March while the inspection gantries are removed by crane.

The eastbound carriageway will be closed from 7pm Monday to 6am Tuesday 21 March to remove the traffic management and fully open up the bridge to two lanes again.

The findings from the inspection will be shared once the full report is finalised.

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