Key Bristol bridge to close on Monday - for 18 months

Langton Street Bridge -Credit:Bristol City Council
Langton Street Bridge -Credit:Bristol City Council

A key footbridge connecting South Bristol with the rest of the city is to close on Monday - and could be closed for 18 months as part of a £2 million refit.

The Langton Street Bridge, better known locally as the Banana Bridge because of its curved shape and yellow colour, will close tomorrow (May 13) and is unlikely to open again until the end of 2025.

The bridge is one of six across the New Cut of the River Avon that Bristol City Council is closing and restoring, which will later include both the Bedminster Bridge roundabout bridges and the Bath Road bridges too.

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The Langton Street Bridge is a vital pedestrian and cycle link that connects Totterdown, Victoria Park and the eastern end of Bedminster, Redcatch and Knowle with Redcliffe and on into the city centre. People wanting to cross the river will now have to divert to the Bath Road Bridge near Temple Meads or the Bedminster Bridge roundabout instead.

The bridge is named after a street that no longer exists - Langton Street was badly damaged in the Bristol Blitz, and swept away in the post-war redevelopment of the riverside area at the eastern end of Bedminster, in front of Victoria Park.

The bridge was constructed in 1883 as a temporary fix while the Bedminster Bridge was being built, and then moved along the river to connect Redcliffe with Totterdown a year later.

Bristol City Council has admitted it doesn’t know how long the work will take - and will only find out when the bridge is closed and they can find out how much work needs to be done to restore it.

“Work will include removing the surface, repairing the structure and masonry, and repainting the bridge,” a council spokesperson said. “The length of the work will depend on what condition the bridge is in. We'll determine this when we can access the full structure, once the bridge is closed,” he added.

The £2 million project is being funded by the West of England Combined Authority, using money from the Government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement. It will be the fourth bridge to undergo major refurbishment in recent years.

The first was the Gaol Ferry Bridge, which took more than a year to complete and was finally reopened in September last year. Two other bridges are currently already closed. The Vauxhall Bridge pedestrian crossing across the New Cut links Southville with Spike Island and the Harbourside. It was closed on October 2 last year and the council has said it will be closed for two years.

Local residents have criticised the length of time the work is taking, and a Twitter account has been set up that posts a daily record of the number of people seen working on the bridge each morning.

The Vauxhall Bridge restoration is costing the taxpayer £3 million, and the bridge is expected to be closed until the late autumn of 2025.

And the Sparke Evans Park Bridge, further east along the River Avon, was closed in late October last year, and is also expected to take two years to repair. The bridge links Arnos Vale and the Paintworks with Sparke Evans Park in St Philips.