October 2023: News from Mayor Marvin Rees

Our £1.5 million investment has saved the much-loved Gaol Ferry Bridge from being lost. Inspections showed the bridge needed extensive structural work to make it safe after years of under investment in the harbour estate by previous administrations. These were, after all, the first major repairs in almost a century.

To celebrate restoring this vital and busy route, Wapping Wharf led the celebrations on Friday 8 September. After the patience of residents and businesses, events included live music, offers, and shops open well into the evening.

The repairs have given a new lease of life to this lightweight suspension bridge, which has been doing a lot of heavy lifting over the years as it is such a popular route with pedestrians and cyclists, and the bridge has been carrying more people than it was originally built for.

On top of structural repairs, Gaol Ferry Bridge has been repainted and looks fantastic, although we do have a small number of finishing touches to make after its reopening.

I am thrilled we have safeguarded the bridge for the future, however, there is an ongoing conversation to be had about the longer-term need for another bridge in the area. As we continue to tackle the backlog of repairs that we inherited, and as our city’s population continues to grow, our administration is also looking ahead to future opportunities for a new crossing. The previous administration cancelled plans for one over the New Cut (between the Coronation Road/Camden Road junction and Cumberland Road), despite planning permission and Department for Transport funding being in place. We are now in the process of revisiting those proposals as we look to reassess the business case for a new crossing.

We are moving our attention to Vauxhall Bridge, which links Southville and Spike Island, and Sparke Evans Park Bridge, which links the Paintworks development with Sparke Evans Park. Both of these footbridges need urgent structural repairs. Work is also set to start soon on New Brislington Bridge, which will not affect use of the bridge as it will involve a detailed assessment on the condition of 

the structure.

The remaining bridges on our list that we need to repair include Banana Bridge (Langton Street Bridge) and the twin bridges of Bedminster Bridge and Bath Bridge. Bridges are vital to our city and have been overlooked for too long; I am proud that our administration is tackling these difficult infrastructure projects to keep Bristol connected.