Background photo copyright Keith Rodgerson
The two majestic towers which support the Clifton Suspension Bridge are set to undergo important restoration works. The masonry will be cleaned and repointed, and repairs carried out to the roof structure, the drainage and the access ladders.
David Anderson, the Bridge Master, said: “a detailed inspection was carried out several years ago, which revealed that the walls of the towers – and the red sandstone abutments which support them – were in need of repair work. The repairs to the abutments were done between 2010 and 2012, and it has now become a high priority to tackle the towers.
“The most efficient way to go about these works is to erect scaffolding around the towers. This in itself is a major operation, but will provide safe conditions for stone masons to carry out their work, which has to be of the highest quality on this Grade 1 listed structure. It also enables protective sheeting to be installed, to prevent debris and dust causing any danger to people using the bridge or contamination of the Avon Gorge below - a Site of Special Scientific Interest.”
The works are phased so that each tower will be repaired in turn. The Clifton tower will be tackled first – starting in March, and programmed to be complete in October. Works to the Leigh Woods tower will follow on in 2016.
“It is unfortunate that the bridge will not be looking its best during the next two summers due to the scaffolding obscuring one of the towers, however the works must be done during the summer months because warm temperatures are needed for the repointing and painting works” said Mr Anderson.
The bridge is to be closed to traffic and cyclists from 8.00am to 6.00pm on the weekends of the 14 and 15 March and the 21 and 22 March, to allow the scaffolding works to begin. One footway will remain open for pedestrian use only. Cyclists may dismount and walk across, however as only one narrow footway will be open they are requested to avoid using the bridge if possible.