A 40-year-old footbridge in Swansea will be demolished this weekend, causing the closure of a busy dual carriageway.
The old bridge, which crosses Oystermouth Road, will be torn down to make way for a new bridge called the Golden Swan.
Construction of the new bridge is part of a £135m scheme called Swansea Phase One, which will see the creation of a 3,500 capacity arena and parkland next to the LC leisure centre.
Swansea Council has said the new landmark bridge will be broader than its predecessor, internally lit and covered, and will link the new development to a multi-storey car park, commercial units and homes on the site of St Mary’s temporary car park, near the Tesco store at Swansea Marina.
The existing 150-tonne bridge will come down overnight on Saturday, meaning a part of Oystermouth Road will be closed.
When exactly is the work being carried out?
The removal is due to take place between 10pm on Saturday (February 1) and 10am on Sunday (February 2). Swansea Council has said the removal is a “complex operation" so the exact time of the lift itself is not clear. The 12-hour work period will mostly be spent setting up and clearing up, while the lift itself is not expected to take a considerable amount of time.
Why is the old bridge being torn down?
Swansea Council said it was not suitable for the £135m Swansea Central Phase One scheme which they hope will see more people - including arena visitors - walk and cycle over Oystermouth Road.
How much of the bridge will be lifted on the night?
The central span – the 28m concrete platform that now stretches between the two vertical abutments will be taken away. The plan is to have removed the southern ramp section beforehand, and the northern ramp in the weeks afterwards.
Take a fly-through of a future Swansea city centre:
Who is carrying out the work and how will they do it?
The work will be done by around 25 construction professionals using two 25-metre tall, 800-tonne cranes. The operation is being managed by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, the principal contractor on Swansea Central Phase One, while the lift will be undertaken by Caerphilly-based Bond Demolition and Baldwins Cranes which has a Swansea depot.
Detailed preparation work for moving it has been taking place for several weeks.
Where will the bridge end up after it’s removed?
On the area alongside the Mumbles-bound carriageway of Oystermouth Road, the ramp of which will have been removed by then. The neighbouring pavement will be closed temporarily for safety – until around the middle of February – while the concrete and metalwork is broken down for recycling.
Can you watch the lift and take photographs?
Areas will be made available for viewing behind a safety cordon that will be set up around the site. The area will be well floodlit and marshals will be there to help keep spectators safe. Filming and taking photographs is permitted at a safe distance.
What disruption will there be for drivers, local residents and businesses?
The work will mean the temporary closure of the stretch of Oystermouth Road between its Princess Way and West Way junctions from 10pm on Saturday to around 10am on Sunday.
Diversions will take motorists through the city centre - a diversion of one to one and a half miles, while access for emergency vehicles will be maintained at all times except during the short period of the lift itself.
Pedestrians and residents will have to remain out of the main operation area from 10pm-10am.
The pavement on the LC side will be temporarily closed until around mid-February. The footway on the multi-storey side will close temporarily once the LC side reopens – and it will stay closed for a few weeks while the bridge ramp on that side is removed.
Pedestrians and cyclists can cross the road using the lights-controlled crossings at the foot of Albert Row and Princess Way, and continue their journey on the opposite pavement.
What will happen to the plaque on one of the bridge’s abutments, which commemorates the Swansea and Mumbles Railway?
It will be removed with care and handed to the council for future use.
When will the new bridge be put in place?
In the second half of 2020, in good time for the opening of the whole Swansea Central Phase One scheme, in the second half of 2021
Who is paying for it?
Swansea Council is behind Swansea Central Phase One, with some funding for the arena coming from the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. Some funding for the new bridge comes from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund.
What does the council say about the work being carried out and what it will ultimately achieve?
Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said this weekend’s work was part of an exciting time for the city, and part of a project that would benefit the area for generations to come.
“This will help in the regeneration of Swansea city centre,” said Mr Stewart.
“Hundreds of millions of pounds are being invested around town by the private and public sectors; this will be a powerful catalyst to boost the future prospects of the whole community.
"The arena will be top class, as will the other components of Swansea Central Phase One. This new district will link the city centre with our world-class coast in a way that will really make people sit up and take note.”