BUS services through Frampton Cotterell are facing severe disruption as work gets underway this morning to replace a dangerous bridge.
We reported last month how Church Road, the main artery route through the village, has been closed for up to three weeks from Monday, April 7 while preliminary works are carried out on Church Bridge.
The road will then reopen only to be closed again for a further six weeks from July 28 whilst the bridge, which was in danger of collapsing, is demolished and rebuilt.
The tough new bridge will be one of the first in the UK to be made from layers of glass and carbon fibres bound together with resin – a process more commonly seen in advanced passenger aircraft manufacturing.
Traffic is being asked to follow the official diversion via Bristol Road, Yate Road, Stover Road and Badminton Road – making a detour of around three miles.
Because of the works, buses are unable to access Church Road and South Gloucestershire Council has arranged for the 327, 581, 482/3, 81 and 82 services to be diverted throughout the closure period.
Buses will instead travel their normal route to Yate Station and then via Stover Road, the B4059 Yate Road to the B4058 Bristol Rd otherwise known as the Iron Acton bypass.
For passengers who require bus services from the Church Road area, the council has made arrangements with Severnside Transport for the 222 bus service to divert hourly Monday to Friday. The route to be taken is the unaffected part of Church Road to Clyde Road, Park Lane and Beesmoor Road towards Yate Shopping Centre where connections to the other bus services are available.
The council said: “The work is being carried out because our routine inspections show that the bridge concrete has deteriorated to the point where it can’t carry the loads we need it to, so a full replacement is required.
“The bulk of the work is being carried out during the school summer holidays to minimise traffic disruption and there will be a temporary pedestrian bridge to allow local people to cross the river while it’s taking place.
“Diversions will be in place during this time.”
Cllr Dave Hockey (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said the closure was a necessary evil.
“The diversion is quite a long way round and people are not going to be thrilled about but there is no choice,” he said. “The bridge is falling into the river and the idea that buses carrying schoolchildren could fall into the river doesn’t bear thinking about.
“There is a 13-tonne weight limit on the bridge but before that was imposed we had double decker buses and heavily-loaded vans using it.
“The situation has been going on for about three years and this work has got to happen.”