Construction phase of footbridge near Abercynon starts on site

Written by on 21st May 2024

The construction phase to install the replacement Feeder Pipe Footbridge, located between Abercynon and Quakers Yard, is now underway. The works are anticipated to cause minimal disruption to local communities. 

The footbridge is located on the county borough boundary between Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil, spanning the River Taff between Alexandra Place and Tram Road. The structure sustained significant damage during Storm Dennis, and the bridge deck and parapets have since been removed.

Planning permission was granted in April 2024 to install a replacement bridge, designed to be wider and more resilient to future storms. It will be 38-metres long and 2.2-metres wide, compared to the 1.5-metre width of the old bridge. The new bridge deck will be constructed with steel as opposed to the original timber deck, while the abutments and piers will undergo maintenance work.

The Council has appointed Balfour Beatty as the contractor to deliver the construction phase, and work has started from Wednesday, May 15.

Initial activity will include tree and vegetation clearance on the southern side of the river to create a temporary platform off Tram Road (Quakers Yard) – to be used for plant and material storage, site welfare facilities, and to position a crane that will lift the bridge sections into place. An agreed compensation plan for trees and vegetation that are lost will be implemented after the scheme.

Minor disruption is expected during the construction phase due to the bridge’s location away from residential areas. Tram Road will stay open to pedestrians and vehicles, with a marshal system in place during work hours. The footpath from Alexandra Place (Abercynon) will be used as an access to construct the bridge abutment. The majority of this path will remain open, with only the last 70-metre section being closed to create a temporary track to the bridge.

Milestones in the work programme will include constructing the bridge abutments on both sides of the river, repairing the stone piers within the river channel, constructing the bridge away from the site and lifting it into place in sections, repairing existing walls, and improving the approach footways to the bridge.

The Council’s contractor will be writing to residents who live nearest the work site to further explain the works, and they will also provide regular online newsletters and progress updates over the duration of the scheme. Subject to fair weather, the scheme is anticipated to be completed during early 2025.

Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Investment, said:

“I’m pleased that the construction of the Feeder Pipe Footbridge is starting so soon after planning consent was received from both Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil councils in April. RCT Council will be leading on the project’s delivery, to reinstate the local link over the river between Abercynon and Quakers Yard.

“The new bridge is designed to be more resilient to future flood events – a key consideration in our continued effort to repair and reinstate structures that were damaged in recent storms, and our wider investment to alleviate the threat of climate change. We continue to welcome Welsh Government support in this area, with the Feeder Pipe Footbridge scheme one of many to be funded through the £3.61m Storm Dennis repair programme during 2024/25.

“Minimal disruption is expected over the length of the scheme, with the bridge located away from residential properties. No major traffic management is needed, while the majority of local footpaths are able to remain open. The Council will work closely with its contractor to make good progress over the months ahead, working towards an expected completion date early next year.”

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