Progress report on the significant White Bridge repair scheme

Written by on 27th October 2023

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has provided an update on the major repair scheme to Berw Road Bridge in Pontypridd. More than 500 individual concrete repairs have been made so far, and the update sets out the remaining works programme.

The Listed structure, known as White Bridge, was damaged by Storm Dennis, and closed with immediate effect in February 2020 to ensure public safety. The Council has worked closely with Cadw to gain consent for major repairs to the structure, which also supports a gas main through a pipe on the bridge.

The Council has made it clear that this is a major scheme that requires White Bridge to close for a significant period of time. In the previous update (August 2023), it was stated that the timescale for completion would be determined by the extent of repairs needed to the final section of the bridge – to be identified once the specialist contractor removes this section’s protective gunite layer.

Latest progress update – October 2023

Relocation of the scaffolding to the final section of the bridge got underway in mid-August and was subsequently completed. Pedestrian access over the bridge was temporarily restricted, and then reinstated on September 11. This enabled the contractor to begin concrete repairs to the bridge’s final section.

Please note, much of this work continues out of view from the roadside – so while it may appear there is no ongoing site activity, this is actually taking place underneath the bridge and behind the bridge covering.  

More than 500 individual structural repairs have been made so far, with some of these requiring structural steelwork repairs. Around 14 tonnes of concrete have been used, along with 115 tonnes of gunite – a material that protects the concrete. This continues to be a slow process, as the amount of concrete and steelwork that can be removed at one time is limited to protect the bridge’s structural integrity, while the curing times increase during colder weather.

Upon removal of the original gunite, the contractor discovered significant further repairs which need to be phased appropriately and factored into the overall completion timescale, which is now estimated to be in spring 2024.

What happens next?

The ongoing concrete repairs will continue to the final section of the bridge in the weeks ahead. This will allow, in the New year, the removal of the scaffolding from the bridge and the removal of the contractor’s site office from its current location – to allow progress on the remainder of the scheme.

Remaining activity will include removing the existing carriageway surface, kerb line and footway, and the temporary diversion of key utilities such as gas and water mains, electricity cables and street lighting. This will enable concrete repairs and waterproofing to the bridge deck. The final elements of the scheme will construct a replacement highway drainage system, repair/paint the bridge parapets, and reinstate the footway, carriageway, railings and street lighting.

The contractor’s office will be relocated to The Parade in the New Year, which requires a road closure at this location. Further details will be communicated nearer the time. The closure will enable Wales & West Utilities to undertake significant gas main works, that are not related to the White Bridge scheme and would otherwise need to be completed under a road closure in the future.

RCT Council is thanking residents for their continued cooperation as this important and complex scheme is further progressed towards completion.

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