Historical status meaning delays in repairs to Pont-y-Cafnau Bridge
- Categories : Press Release
- 26 Aug 2022
The Council is working as quickly as possible to repair Pont-y-Cafnau Bridge, but complications caused by the bridge’s important historical status – along with ecological issues - have delayed progress.
The 230-year-old structure is the world's oldest cast-iron railway bridge and both a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade II* listed structure. As such, any work carried out on it needs to be approved by Welsh Government's historic environment service CADW.
While it is no longer a railway bridge, Pont-y-Cafnau is used as a footbridge, but has been closed since suffering serious structural damage from winter storms in 2020.
CADW advised the Council to appoint a specialist Heritage Structural Engineer to prepare a structural assessment report, with the authority also having to assess any ecological requirements.
Extensive vegetation clearance had to be carried out using roped access to allow for a detailed inspection of the structure. This revealed that a significant programme of masonry repairs was needed, requiring the dismantling and reconstruction of a section of the bridge.
Numerous ecology surveys had to be undertaken after the identification of otter prints and a potential bat roost in the wall, with a bat-licensed ecologist appointed to supervise all the work.
Scheduled Monument Consent will again be needed for the remaining work, together with Flood Defence Consent from Natural Resources Wales.
“We understand people’s frustrations, but this is a complex programme of works which required significant thought for access methods,” said Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration Cllr Geraint Thomas.
“Unfortunately, we can’t move any quicker, and hope to complete all the repair works this financial year, with the bridge reopened around April/May 2023.”