Repair and Reopen Footbridge, Plaid Councillors Urge Transport For Wales

18/05/2020

Plaid Cymru councillors in Llanbradach are demanding the repair and reopening of a popular footbridge across the Rhymney Valley rail line.

Councillor Rob Gough, who has raised the issue with Caerphilly Council and engineering company, Amey, said residents feared owners Transport for Wales  (TFW) – which took over ownership, wants to close the Llanbradach bridge permanently.

Councillor Rob Gough said: “What bothers me is that from January until mid-April the bridge repair was deemed acceptable and the  bridge to be safe, otherwise it would have been closed in January. Previous owners, Network Rail only became aware of the damage because it was reported by a resident who lives in one of the two houses above the bridge and used it every day.

“Residents are not happy with the bridge being closed at the moment and even less happy at the talk of the bridge being removed completely.

“And if there was an issue with safety why was the bridge not shut until April after being damaged in January. The bridge can be repaired and, I believe, the damage is just being used as an attempt by Transport for Wales to remove an ongoing maintenance liability. That is totally unacceptable.”

Councillor Rob Gough said that it had been suggested that residents and users of the bridge could access Colliery /Graddfa Road by walking down Tynygraig Road and under the road bridge on Station Road. “Everybody, including representatives of Caerphilly CBC and TFW agree this would be extremely dangerous. Such a route would also mean a detour of around  half-a-mile for walkers.”

Fellow ward councillor Colin Mann said: “The bridge is on a route into Caerphilly Skip Hire’s depot and there is suspicion locally that it was hit by a lorry driver but not reported to the authorties.

“The bridge was originally built to give people a safe way across the railway when the pit was working and is still well used by local residents.”

Plaid councillors are raising the issue with James Price, Chief Executive of TFW. 

Amey has carried a detailed inspection of the bridge on behalf of the TFW subsequent to the transfer of the ownership. 

·         Permission to allow the railway to cross the land was granted in the 1800s when the then owner of Tynygraig Farm, which later became the vicarage, part of the land sale agreement. The footbridge was constructed when the colliery was running to allow access for miners to go to work in the mine.