REPAIRS to a historic bridge that carries traffic on the A470 trunk road over the River Severn have been given the green light by Powys County Council planners.
Karl James of engineering firm Mott MacDonald, had applied for listed building consent to strengthen Caersws Bridge.
Mott Macdonald had submitted the application on behalf of the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency.
The works include masonry re-pointing, replacing missing stone, filling of any open joints, cleaning off vegetation growth from the masonry, and introducing extra support to the spandrel walls with steel rope or rods.
It would mean that the 40 to 44 tonnes carrying capacity would be restored, and that two-way traffic could once again be accommodated by the bridge which is on the A470 trunk road that goes from Llandudno to Cardiff, linking North and South Wales.
Built in 1821, the Grade II listed bridge is to the south of the village and was built from local stone with a single layer of stone masonry arch barrels, and three elliptical arches.
The scheme includes masonry re-pointing, replacing missing stone filling of any open joints; cleaning off vegetation growth from the masonry; and introducing extra support to the spandrel walls with steel rope or rods.
The work, which has already started, is needed to reduce the risk of the bridge collapsing.
Powys planning officer Rhian Griffiths said that the council’s built heritage officer had been consulted about the plans.
Ms Griffiths said:
“The built heritage officer has commented that whilst the proposed will have a slight negative impact upon the aesthetics of the bridge, alternative options to repair the structural integrity of the bridge would have a larger impact due to their invasive nature and would be less desirable.
“It has been further noted that the additional ties are reversible, and allow for the original material to be re-used, should areas of the bridge require reconstruction.
“Whilst the aesthetics of the bridge will be slightly reduced, the positive of the bridge being made sound outweighs any negative impact.
“It is therefore considered that the proposed development fundamentally complies with relevant planning policy and the recommendation is therefore one of conditional consent.”
The planning permission conditions that need to be adhered include the need for details of the mortar and stone that will be used to repair the bridge need to be submitted and agreed with planning officers.
Mott Macdonald in their application has said that this is an “interim solution.”
It would help minimise further damage to the historic bridge while work to find a longer term and “more substantial programme of improvement works” are identified.