Blackweir Bridge in Cardiff is set to finally reopen as repair work is due to finish soon.
The bridge over the River Taff in Bute Park is a key route for walkers, runners and cyclists, but has been shut for almost a year.
Cardiff Council closed the bridge last April due to people not socially distancing. However, it later emerged the bridge had serious structural and fire damage, needing extensive repairs before it could safely be reopened.
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Cardiff University, which owns the bridge, has said repair work is due to finish next Friday, March 5 . Cardiff Council has said the bridge will reopen once all the repairs are done.
Many people questioned the logic of closing the footbridge due to Covid-19, when the next bridge further upstream has a very narrow footpath, forcing people to cross very closeby. That pavement is also frequently flooded with large puddles, and next to a busy road.
Now the council has said “scientific understanding of Covid-19 has changed”, meaning the bridge can reopen.
Last December it emerged the bridge had been structurally damaged. A freedom of information request later revealed a tree washed down the river Taff during storms early last year, damaging mesh panels and timber decking. A fire was also lit underneath the bridge.
Recently workers have been seen fixing the damages, and the university said the work is almost done.
A Cardiff University spokesman said: “We are committed to opening the bridge as soon as we can, and the necessary repair work is well underway.
“The bridge has been cleaned, and a number of decking boards were identified as requiring replacement that weren’t highlighted in the original condition survey.
“Further work to replace the non-slip mesh deck panels, removal of graffiti and the repair of other side mesh panels is also planned.
“Subject to any unforeseen circumstances, all of this work is due to be completed by Friday, March 5. The decision on when the bridge can be opened for public use is a matter for Cardiff council.”
After the bridge has finally reopened, people crossing it will be asked to help prevent the spread of coronavirus by not stopping, keeping to the left, and crossing in single file.
A Cardiff council spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic the council has done, and will continue to do, all it can to keep Cardiff safe and limit the spread of Covid-19. But we also want to enable people to move safely and easily around the city.
“Scientific understanding of how Covid-19 is transmitted has changed since the bridge was initially closed, and we are now in a position where—once all the necessary structural works have been completed by Cardiff University—Blackweir Bridge can be reopened.
“Bridge users will be asked to follow some simple rules when using the bridge to help eliminate the risk of Covid-19 transmission as far as possible.
“Signs advising people to keep left, cross in single file, practice good hand and respiratory hygiene, and not stop on the bridge will be in place and we would ask people for their continued co-operation with these guidelines.”