Bridge closure would be "catastrophic"

A DINAS Powys councillor has warned that it would be “catastrophic” for the village if Cross Common Road Bridge was closed because work was not carried out to make it safe.

A consultant has recommended that the bridge, near Hebron Hall and adjacent to Cardiff Road, should be closed by May next year amid safety fears unless work is carried out to reinforce it.

A report before the Vale Council’s Cabinet on Monday, December 16, recommended that the most suitable option from a feasibility study was to replace the existing bridge deck, but this was deferred after objections from Dinas Powys councillors to the 14 week timetable it would take for the bridge to be reinforced. The cabinet will now lease with Dinas Powys councillors before moving ahead with the recommendations.

Leader of the Vale Council, councillor Neil Moore, said he was “astounded” by the comments from local members after they raised concerns about the length of time that the bridge would be closed for repair work to be carried out.

“How can we give them a timetable?” he said.

“They are upset about the road being closed for 14 weeks. It is better for it to be closed for 14 weeks rather than forever.”

Dinas Powys councillor Chris Franks said that the Vale Council had left local councillors with no option but to agree with the recommendations, but that the timetable for work should be reduced.

“We feel we have been backed into a corner and that we have to accept the recommendations from officers,” he said.

“We want the 14 week timetable to be reduced as there is no justification for that period.

“We also want it made clear by the council that this is a temporary solution to address the issue that they have failed to address for the last ten years.”

Fellow Councillor Chris Williams added that he was “disappointed” that it had taken the Vale Council this long to address the issue after he had first raised it in 2002.

The bridge, which has been propped up by a timber frame sub-structure since 2005, has been the centre of a campaign by residents and local Plaid Councillors for some years.

A consultant’s report has warned of the poor repair of the bridge roadway, weak brick abutments and deteriorating concrete base.

Other options for the repair of the bridge were rejected due to lack of funding, the effect on the river’s water flow and disruption to the existing road network. These included: do nothing and close the bridge to traffic, install a temporary ‘Quick Bridge’ at a cost of £120k, construct an entirely new bridge at a cost of £1million and relocate the junction of Cross Common Road with Cardiff Road downstream.

The report before cabinet outlined that £650k has been designated from the capital programme to replace the existing deck before the end of this financial year, but because of the time frame it may slip into the 2014/15 financial year. The feasibility study outlines that it would cost an estimated £500k to replace the deck of the bridge. The report adds that the replacement of the existing bridge deck would assist in reducing the flood risk to properties upstream.

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