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New £9 million bridge planned to reconnect cut-off residents

18 Oct 2023 2 minute read
The damaged Bassaleg Bridge in Newport. Photo via Google

Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter 

A new £9 million bridge is being planned to reconnect a community that has been divided since 2021, when the old bridge was severely damaged.

Newport council decided a new bridge should be built after it abandoned hopes of repairing the damaged structure.

This could take more than three years and cost between £5.6 million and £9 million, according to council estimates.

The residents of Forge Mews have been isolated from the rest of Bassaleg since the summer of August 2021, when a road bridge suffered “significant” damage and was closed for safety reasons.

Pedestrian access

Pedestrian access has since been restored, but the community cannot reach their homes using vehicles – and there have been some problems reported too, with access for the emergency services.

At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday October 18, Newport council leader Jane Mudd told colleagues the local authority had been “working to repair and rehabilitate the structure but due to the condition of the bridge, this is not possible”.

Further investigations at the site have determined repairing the existing bridge is now “not viable” despite works to repair the initial damage.

Instead the council will pursue the design and construction of a new bridge, likely upstream of the damaged crossing.

The existing bridge will then be demolished, according to current proposals.

“Clearly this is not an easy or a quick task,” Cllr Mudd told the meeting, adding that the city council “fully appreciates the disruption” caused to the residents of Forge Mews over the past two years.

The council cabinet agreed to endorse the plan for a new bridge, and the local authority will now have to stump up £40,000 for a Welsh Government ‘Weltag’ assessment – a type of planning document for major transport projects – which must be carried out before any building work can go ahead.

That assessment is expected to take around three months.

The council has estimated the design and planning stages of the project will then take 12 months, and has forecast a further two years for the new bridge to be installed.

That means, according to current estimates, Forge Mews would end up being reconnected to Newport in January 2027 at the earliest – five and a half years after the damaged bridge was first closed off.

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