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Station footbridge declared ‘unsafe’ and will be removed

24 Feb 2024 2 minute read
Caerphilly Station footbridge, pictured in July 2021. Credit: Google

Nicholas Thomas – Local Democracy Reporter

An “unsafe” footbridge over tracks at a railway station will be removed after months of uncertainty.

The bridge at Caerphilly Railway Station was shut and fenced off in July 2023 after inspectors noticed parts of the structure were “rocking” and “moving”.

Since then, the bridge has remained off-limits under a series of closure orders.

Costly removal

At a meeting on Wednesday February 21, Caerphilly Council’s cabinet members decided to knock down the bridge, at a cost of £200,000.

The cabinet opted against building a replacement, arguing it would cost nearly £2 million and would effectively lengthen journey times for pedestrians.

Marcus Lloyd, the council’s head of infrastructure, added that building a new bridge would lead to a protracted, expensive series of railway line closures while work was carried out.

Caerphilly Council’s responsibility for maintaining the footbridge dates back to a 1910 agreement signed by its predecessor authority.

Lifespan passed

The current “Tubewright” structure was opened in 1965 and had an estimated lifespan of 25 years, Chris Adams, the council’s highway engineering group manager, noted in a report.

It was “totally refurbished” in 1997 and its landings replaced in 2009 and 2012, but inspections last year deemed it “unsafe for public use”.

The bridge connects King Edward Avenue to Station Terrace, and if it is removed the distance into the town centre will be 260 metres – five metres more than it would be using the footbridge – the council said.

Any new bridge would need to be accessible, with inclusive ramps, and the added distance would mean journeys would increase to 578 metres, Mr Adams said in his report.

Solutions

Council leader Sean Morgan suggested the authority could therefore “be getting nothing from” a replacement bridge.

Such a structure would also cost £1.9m and Caerphilly Council may be liable for its future maintenance, the cabinet was told.

At the meeting, members also considered spending £600,000 to repair the existing bridge, but the report noted this option “only provides a short-term solution”.

Cabinet members gave their unanimous backing to the demolition of the existing bridge, and the £200,000 costs will come from uncommitted capital earmarked reserves.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

The thing is an eyesore and a monstrosity, make sure the next one is better in all respects…

Bob McIntyre
Bob McIntyre
1 month ago

Expensive, difficult and expensive to replace? Which planet do these people live on? Yet another example of the ignorance of local council bureaucrats… If they’d talked to Network Rail then they might have learnt about FLOW: a fibre-reinforced polymer bridge which is low-carbon, lightweight and can be installed quickly with minimal closure of the railway below. It costs 40% less than a standard bridge and is built with real time monitoring to detect any problems. One of these was installed just over a year ago on the main line north of Craven Arms. Not only did it replace a dangerous… Read more »

John Airey
John Airey
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob McIntyre

The problem with the FLOW bridges is that they are built with steps at each side so are not accessible. They have a limited scope for where they can be used. As the article points out an accessible bridge will involve a longer journey that the alternative route. So it would be a waste of money.

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