Halfpenny Bridge closure in Lechlade may continue for weeks

The incident in the early hours of Tuesday, June 20, caused significant damage to Halfpenny Bridge in Lechlade – the main road in and out of the Cotswolds town to and from Swindon

Since then, a road closure has been in force for weeks along the A361, but remains open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Because the 18th-century bridge is a listed structure and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the repair work will be a lengthy process. 

Before any work can begin, both the Secretary of State and Historic England must approve the proposed works, including the design, materials, and method of construction.

When will the bridge reopen? 

A public meeting was held on July 20 where Gloucestershire County Council gave an update on the work to residents and businesses. 

The council said it expects to submit its official plan for repair to Historic England and the Secretary of State “within the next month”.

This means, that once the repair plan is approved by the appropriate authorities, the work should take around eight weeks to complete. 

Swindon Advertiser: Aerial shot of the damage on the Halfpenny bridge in Lechlade - photo by Nick BennettAerial shot of the damage on the Halfpenny bridge in Lechlade – photo by Nick Bennett (Image: Nick Bennett)

In addition, the council revealed that expert divers had been hired to recover any remaining stones that had fallen into the river.

One of the conditions of the rebuild is that as much original stone as possible be used.

Meanwhile, contractors have also been employed to design and construct scaffolding to allow work to be undertaken safely.

Other road closures in the area 

A GCC spokesperson said: “The council is also in contact with the Environment Agency, Lechlade-on-Thames Town Council and local community groups throughout the work.

“This is in addition to Swindon Borough Council who are involved in the diversion route for road closures south of the bridge.

“The council understands that the closure of Halfpenny Bridge coincides with the closure of Hannington Wick Lane. 

“This road is currently closed after a number of drainage culverts under the road were found to be collapsing. 

“The road will remain closed to keep everyone safe while we undergo a design and repair of the culverts.

“The council will provide updates on both the Halfpenny Bridge and Hannington Wick Lane work as soon as possible.”

“I am doing everything I can” says councillor 

Cllr Dom Morris, GCC’s cabinet member responsible for highways, stated that he is doing “everything he can” to reopen the bridge.

“I understand the inconvenience of the closure to residents and businesses caused by a vehicle hitting the bridge, and I thank them for their patience,” he said. 

“Thank you to those residents and businesses who attended the public meeting and for your interest in the scheme.

“I am doing everything I can to push forward the repair work as quickly as possible and will provide updates throughout the process.”

Swindon Advertiser: The damage on the Halfpenny bridge in Lechlade - photo by Nick BennettThe damage on the Halfpenny bridge in Lechlade – photo by Nick Bennett (Image: Nick Bennett)

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