Update on Ludford Bridge closure – government gives go ahead for repair work

On Friday, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport gave scheduled monument consent to repairs to Ludford Bridge, which was hit by a reversing tarmac truck on 21 February. This is an important step forward as it clears the way for repairs to begin. Historic England has waived the usual four week notice that is required before work on the bridge can commence.[1]

This is of course good news. But I am still disappointed that it has taken a month to get this far. Shortly after the bridge was damaged, Shropshire Council was talking of repairs taking a few weeks. Now it is clear that this main route into Ludlow will be shut for months. That’s not good for a market town that relies on tourism and local trade.

Smeets_Ferry_Dinhamm_Bridge_160317An HGV using Dinham Bridge to avoid the Ludford Bridge closure

Work on the scaffolding began last Thursday. This is scheduled to take one week to complete.

Plans for divers to recover bridge stonework from the river bed on 24 March had to be abandoned due to high water levels. Now, for safety reasons, the recovery must wait until the scaffolders finish work.

With Easter just a week away, 29 March is the earliest date. It could be five weeks after that before the bridge is reopened. So we are looking at early May before this critical route into town is reopened. I have asked highways of they can get the work done before the May bank holiday.

Should HGVs be banned from Ludford Bridge?

The town council has written to Shropshire Highways asking for a ban of vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes crossing the bridge. Others think that better signage is the answer.

What do you think? Should HGVs (except buses and access) be banned from Ludford Bridge? Vote now.

Notes

[1]. The notice period is to allow for Historic England to make arrangements to inspect and advise on the work.