SAFETY measures are in place ready for work to start on replacing a road bridge in Frampton Cotterell next week.

A crash deck for workers has been built underneath the existing bridge over the River Frome on Church Road, ahead of its demolition and high-tech replacement due to start this Sunday, July 20.

Diversions have also been set up as Church Road, a major route for commuters, will be closed for six weeks and a 20mph limit has been imposed through Iron Acton and on Nibley Lane to reduce the number of drivers using the routes.

A spokesman for South Gloucestershire Council, which is carrying out the £250,000 works, said: “During this time traffic will be diverted to allow contractors to complete demolition of the old bridge and make the site ready for the new ‘advanced composite’ structure that will replace it.

“Pedestrians will still be able to cross the river during the closure by using a temporary footbridge, and temporary arrangements for local bus services will be put in place before the closure begins.”

He added: “This final phase of works follows earlier works in April to prepare the site and divert utility cables.

“The six-week road closure has been scheduled for the school holidays to minimise disruption and no other roadworks are scheduled for the diversion route during the closure period.

“Some weekend and night-time working will be carried out during the closure, and large dynamic message boards will be used to keep residents and drivers up-to-date on progress.”

The dilapidated old bridge is in danger of collapse and is being replaced with a new glass and carbon fibre structure which has a 120-year lifetime and needs little maintenance.

Cllr Dave Hockey (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said increased diversion signs were being put up since the four-week closure for preparatory works in April.

“The council is strengthening the diversion to make sure drivers don’t go through Iron Acton,” he said.

“Residents were appalled by the speed of traffic during the last closure and we had cars ending up in the ditch along Nibley Lane.

“These measures will hopefully make sure drivers use the diversion route - that is very important for residents.”

He said the only factor which could jeopardise the six-week time slot was the weather.

“If the heavens open in August it could be delayed,” said Cllr Hockey. “The workers wouldn’t be able to stand on the crash deck and we couldn’t endanger lives.

“We know what the River Frome is like and it is totally unpredictable.”