WORK to resurface a bridge which is a vital road link for residents living on the eastern bank of the river Wye has been pushed back until at least next spring.
It had been expected resurfacing work on the Wye Bridge in Monmouth would start on October 16 and last for up to five weeks but Monmouthshire County Council has now said it has had to postpone any work until at least spring 2024 and has blamed a non-compliant tender.
It was expected a contractor would be appointed by the middle of August.
The council says when the work is able to go ahead it is still being advised by engineers the bridge will have to close to all traffic other than the emergency services, though pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to cross the bridge.
County councillor Emma Bryn, whose Wyesham ward is on the eastern bank of the Wye, said the bridge is vital for residents who wish to travel to Monmouth and elsewhere.
She said: “I’m really disappointed as we’ve been fighting to get it fixed for quite some time.”
She said she was however grateful that the county council has given early notice of the postponment of the work: “I did push them to let everyone know as soon as possible of any news as people in Wyesham are keen to know what is going on, so I’m grateful they are letting us know.”
The independent councillor said as a diversion of the A466 is required an official route can only direct drivers to another A road, meaning the dedicated alternative is likely to require drivers to travel up to 20 miles to Symond’s Yat. The Wye Bridge forms part of the A466 which connects with the A40 at Monmouth on the western bank of the river.
The original Wye Bridge was built in around 1615 and widened in 1878-80 and the resurfacing work will require removal of 10 centimetres of the road surface, which will weaken the structure making its closure to nearly all traffic necessary.
As the council will have to retender the contract it has stressed the earliest any work could start would be spring next year while it also says it is mindful that Welsh Water is due to carry out infrastructure improvements in Monmouth from September.
A council spokesperson said: “The criticality of the Wye Bridge as a key part of the travel network means that finding a way to resurface the Wye Bridge with minimal disruption will always be a challenge. This is made more difficult given the bridge’s age and unique structure.
“Monmouthshire County Council would like to reassure residents and businesses that their concerns and needs will be respected and considered, and every effort will be made to minimise disruption to people’s lives when the works take place.”
It added it will continue look at options to limit the impact of the closure through the new tendering process and will issue updates as and when information is confirmed.