Newport: Safety concerns over year-long bridge closure

By David Grundy
BBC Wales news

  • Published
Image caption,
The bridge has been closed for a year

Residents say they feel "forgotten" after the bridge to their road was closed for urgent repairs a year ago.

Old Bassaleg Bridge has been shut since 6 August 2021 due to safety concerns.

It forced people living on Forge Mews to park the other side of the River Ebbw where some cars have been vandalised.

Newport City Council said it was working on a plan to fix the bridge but added it has been "complex".

Those living on the street told BBC Wales they feared what might happen if there was an emergency, such as a house fire, and some of the residents had mobility problems and needed their cars - but had been unable to park on the street for months.

Tony Brooks, who lives on the street, said they had been promised fortnightly updates from the local authority but had heard nothing since March - with the rainbow trout spawning season given by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) as a reason for the delayed.

"We have to carry back shopping from the supermarket (over the bridge)," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"They've given us all a trolley to wheel across the bridge, something we are grateful for, but there are a myriad of problems."

Image caption,
Residents in wheelchairs have found the disruption difficult

He pointed to issues for people in wheelchairs and those with children, adding: "They can't leave them in the car and bring the trolley, or can't bring them home and go get the trolley."

Mr Brooks described shopping as "a major issue", saying: "We can't have deliveries of anything whatsoever, from any source, Amazon, Prime Video, Iceland, Tesco, as it takes more than three minutes a delivery and three minutes is all they're allowed."

'Stressful and upsetting'

Neighbour Alison Williams described the lack of correspondence from the council as "frustrating, stressful and upsetting".

She said while the emergency services had a code for an access road to the houses, there had been "several occasions now we've had to have an ambulance into the street - the first being that nobody knew the code".

"If we had a fatality, God forbid, through fire, heart attack, through death, we would hold the council accountable for it," she said.

She added: "We've got residents that have got mobility issues that need their cars, and we can't even get them out of the street".

Image caption,
Alison Williams believes the council should have given more support

"We've requested a meeting but no-one has got back to us, we're fed up with the council," she said.

"We bought our houses with drives so that we can park our vehicles on them. We want to know what the plans for the bridge are."

NRW told BBC Radio Wales' Breakfast show that work was down to the local authority.

Image caption,
Residents believe they have been forgotten

Newport council said it had carried out investigations, with a spokesman adding: "We are currently working with specialists on putting together options for repairing the bridge.

"This is a complex process that has been further affected by the presence of numerous utility services apparatus within and below the bridge structure."

The authority said it was expecting to begin repairs soon and that once a date had been finalised it would update residents of Forge Mews.