[All pictures by Richard Lucking]
Work has started to remove a redundant gas pipeline bridge over the River Avon as part of wider plans to build more houses and improve walking and cycling on the riverside .
Works to remove and demolish the structure, which stands alongside Windsor Bridge, are expected to be completed in early December.
Bath and North East Somerset council previously considered repurposing the bridge but decided to remove and demolish it to prevent a safety risk to river and tow-path users.
The works form part of the wider redevelopment of the second phase of Bath Western Riverside to build more homes and improve accessibility along the towpath.
There will be minimal disruption to pedestrians and traffic on Windsor Bridge Road and Upper Bristol Road for the majority of the works, however a road closure has been planned between 11-13th November and a section of tow path beneath the bridge will be closed from 9th October to 8th December. A second section of towpath will also be closed from 4th October to early December to allow landscaping works by the new pedestrian bridge at Bath Quays. Short diversion routes will be in place for both closures.
To carry out these works existing trees at the site will need to be felled, however the council will follow a tree replacement strategy to offset this loss, including on and off-site planting and replacement.
Surveys have identified opportunities for biodiversity enhancement with additional planting on the southern side of the river, and semi-mature trees will be planted upon completion of works to provide an immediate visual impact to the area.
Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport said: “We are working to keep any disruption to a minimum but please keep an eye out for updates on the planned three-day road closure in November. The demolition works are necessary and will help progress both the Bath Western Riverside and Bath River Line projects, including improving the towpath which is a key cycle and walking route into Bath city centre”.
The bridge was built in 1837 and linked the Twerton and Weston areas of Bath until 1980. The bridge was repurposed to carry gas pipes in 1979 and lasted beyond the end of its serviceable life. Penny Demolition, a local company based in Ston Easton, will carry out the works on behalf of the council.
Following the completion of this project, public realm and landscaping works will take place in 2024 to provide enhanced access to the Bath River Line, a 6.2 mile (10km) linear park through the heart of the city, by significantly improving accessibility and safety at a key intersection.