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Berw Road Bridge (White Bridge) – update on repair process

Written by on 3rd February 2021

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is making progress towards a repair scheme for Berw Road Bridge in Pontypridd – with consent being sought for initial work to reopen the bridge in the coming months, ahead of a full repair programme in 2022. 

The bridge, also known as White Bridge, sustained severe structural damage during Storm Dennis in February 2020 – and has remained closed to ensure public safety and its condition continues to be monitored by consultants Redstart.

As the structure is Listed, the Council is working closely with Cadw to gain the required consent for any repairs. Redstart has appointed heritage engineers to work with them in ongoing discussions with Cadw. The scheme is further complicated by the presence of a gas main providing a major supply through a pipe on the bridge, and discussions are ongoing with Wales & West Utilities.

To date, activity on-site has included a scour inspection and assessment undertaken by specialist contractors, while all utilities have been removed from the bridge with the exception of Wales & West Utilities’ gas main.

The Council can now confirm it is working towards a two-phase repair scheme. The current plan is for initial scour repairs to be undertaken in the coming monthsProposals are being prepared for a specialist contractor to carry out this work, anticipated to last up to two months.

This work requires a number of permissions which the Council is currently seeking – including consent in relation to Listed buildings and flood risk, while an otter survey must also be carried out. Discussions are in place with Natural Resources Wales over the exact timing of these initial repairs, as the work will include activity within the river which is subject to restrictions during the autumn and winter months.

Subject to an inspection upon completion of the scour repairs, the bridge could open to traffic with loading limitations (anticipated in summer 2021).

The Council would then work towards developing a full refurbishment and repair project. This could take place during spring or summer 2022, subject to all of the relevant permissions being obtained – including further Listed Building consent. The work would require the bridge’s temporary closure.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation, said: “The Council recognises the importance of White Bridge to the local community, both in terms of its historical and cultural significance, as well as the important role it plays in the local road network. Today’s announcement, after further detailed inspection of the bridge, shows that the Council is committed to bringing it back into use – following the severe structural damage it sustained during Storm Dennis.

“The repair process is a very complex one for a number of reasons – its location in the river, its Listed status and the presence of a significant gas main on the bridge. The Council has been making progress behind the scenes to agree the best way forward with partner organisations, and to achieve the relevant consent to proceed. I am pleased that initial scour repairs being planned for the coming months could result in the bridge being reopened to traffic before the summer – with a full repair scheme being planned for 2022.

“The Council also remains committed to repairing the significant infrastructure damage from Storm Dennis, with progress being made at a number of key locations – including retaining wall repairs at Cardiff Road in Treforest.

“We have also recently completed a Flood Risk Management consultation to help Officers collate local knowledge, storm data and historical information about flooding in our communities. In total, around 300 residents took part, which is an excellent response from the public. Meanwhile, in December 2020, Cabinet Members agreed 11 targeted recommendations to allow the Council to assess how its readiness for extreme weather can be further improved. The consultation was one of several actions which have been taken as a result, including setting up a multi-agency control room last month.

“Following today’s announcement about White Bridge in Pontypridd, the Council will communicate further information about the initial phase of work in due course – once we have a firm indication on when it’s able to start.”