Cleveland Bridge is a historic part of one of Bath’s main through-routes, and is in urgent need of repair. These pages explain the nature of planned repairs, and give details of how we plan to manage the work.
The importance of Cleveland Bridge
Although the bridge is almost 200 years old, and was originally built for pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages, it now carries around 17 000 vehicles a day, including coaches and heavy goods lorries weighing up to 44 tonnes. Bath and North East Somerset Council are the Highway Authority responsible for the maintenance of the bridge. The bridge is designated as parts of the Primary Road Network (PRN) as its forms part of a long distance north-south strategic route between the south coast and the M4, with the predominant flow being between the A36 and A46. Without this river crossing, traffic would either need to route through the historic centre of Bath, along ancient streets which are protected by access and weight restrictions, or divert using roads to the east, costing motorists considerable extra distance and fuel costs.
From a heritage perspective, the bridge is a Grade II* listed structure that we have a legal duty to preserve appropriately.
The work we are doing
Surveys have identified that structural components of the bridge need to be maintained, repaired or replaced, for it to continue to function safely.
The refurbishment works will ensure the structural safety and integrity of the bridge, and will also preserve the heritage value of this listed structure. This involves:
- Repairs to the truss and deck slabs (the foundation of the flat top of the carriageway)
- Repairs to hanging bars
- Repairs to the masonry abutments (stone supports)
- Repairs and repainting of the cast iron arches and parapets
- Waterproofing to prevent future weather damage
- Installing protective coating systems
These extensive repairs will be assisted by a £3.5m grant from the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund, and by the Department For Transport's headroom uplift for maintenance. The forecast cost will be updated once the hanger bar repairs options are agreed.