Victoria Bridge has been the centre piece of promotional material for Bath's Western Riverside development but it will not be repaired as part of the agreement for the first phase of the project that was signed between Crest Nicholson and Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) last week.
|Promotional picture for Bath's Western Riverside Development with Victoria Bridge centre-stage|
The agreement will allow work to start in the New Year on the first 299 homes of the development that will eventually have 2,200 homes on the site between Victoria Bridge and Windsor Bridge — but a Council spokesman said, "The bridge is a side issue and will have to be repaired separately."
|The northern entrance to Victoria Bridge - sealed off|
Picture by Bob Naylor
Victoria Bridge was closed in August for safety reasons and after an assessment by B&NES' structural engineers, the Council decided to re-open the bridge at a reduced width in October — only to close it again a few days later without giving any explanation except to say that in response to new information it was decided that the bridge should be closed to all users in the interests of public safety.
Victoria Bridge, a Grade 2 listed structure, is an example of the work of Bath engineer James Dredge. It was built in 1836 and like the many other bridges he designed that are still in use all over the world it is a radical alternative to the established suspension bridge design.
|Victoria Bridge — with the shuttering in place to restrict the width of the bridge: Picture by Bob Naylor|
For more information about the work of James Dredge go to: Derrick Hunt's-James Dredge website
Another, smaller scale, example of James Dredge's work can be seen spanning the Kennet & Avon Canal at Wilcot near Pewsey where one of his footbridges links parts of the Stowell Park Estate.