Ludford Bridge was hit hard by a reversing truck last Sunday night and has been closed since. The truck, on its way to resurfacing works for a supermarket, had failed to get through the Broadgate. It’s not the first HGV to have been forced to reverse the length if Lower Broad Street. But the driver was well out of kilter and smashed into the bridge beside Walkmill and then drove off as through nothing had happened.
The good news is that Shropshire Council’s highways team has identified the truck responsible and the council intends to pursue for all costs.
Shropshire Council has this week instructed its design consultants Mouchel to proceed with repairs. The paperwork is not in place but the priority is to get the bridge repaired and open again.
So far so good.
The work on the bridge requires Scheduled Ancient Monument consent. This can take up to six weeks but Historic England has said they will try to turn the application around quickly.
We need to find replacement stone. Historic England has rejected two samples because they are not the right colour and quality. There are plans to recover as much stone as possible from the river and reuse that. I would like see most of the repair work completed with recovered stone.
Despite Shropshire Council issuing a statement that the bridge will be closed for three to four weeks, the proposed work programme will not take less than six weeks. In reality, allowing for delays due to weather and bureaucracy, this is a ten to twelve week project. So we are looking at a mid-April reopening of the bridge. That’s after the tourist season begins at Easter. This is not good news for Ludlow’s traders.
The work is weather dependent. A fierce flow in the Teme will delay work on recovering stone from the river. The stonework must be set in lime mortar. That requires an ambient temperature above 5 degrees and dry conditions.
The bridge will remain closed to vehicles during the work to protect the damage structure and the workforce. Contractors Ringway will build a cantilevered scaffolding system fixed to the road side. Pedestrians and cyclists will always have access over the bridge.
I think this is a three month project.
Closure of Ludford Bridge is not good news for Ludlow. We need to attract every shopper and visitor we can get. If our local traders fail, then we will become a just another town with its clone shops and a lack lustre town centre.
Dinham Bridge closure scrapped
Plans to close Dinham Bridge on 8 March have been cancelled after I made the case that the closure would cause damage to trade, create problems for emergency vehicles and block access to the town centre for people who live in the Cliff area.