The Victoria Bridge is beginning to show its true colours with the original Victorian cream-coloured topcoat now being applied as part of its £725,000 restoration, say Herefordshire Council. The metalwork has been grit blasted to get rid of 13 layers worth of paint and the decking has been completely removed and will be replaced with a wooden deck to match the original. Handrails and decorative features are being repaired and some parts of the bridge strengthened.

“Because the River Wye is designated as both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, there are restrictions on the way we have carried out the work,” said Cllr Brian Wilcox, Cabinet Member (Highways and Transportation). “The Environment Agency has also given us a strict time limit within which the work must be carried out. We’re on course for an early completion, well ahead of the October deadline through the considerable efforts of all parties to the work. The good progress is despite frequent problems caused by vandals,” added Cllr Wilcox. “Those who break into the compound at night or over weekends not only put themselves at risk, but they also threaten the safety of our workmen as some of the equipment has been tampered with.”

The vandals have caused around £15,000 worth of damage since the project began. “We would urge all parents of youngsters to make sure it’s not their children causing problems at the site,” added Cllr Wilcox.

Anyone wanting to find out what’s been going on beneath the plastic sheeting which has enshrined the bridge for several months will have their opportunity on Saturday, 9 September 9. A special exhibition as part of the Civic Trust’s Heritage Open Day event is to be held at the Council’s Castle Green Training Centre, just a stone’s throw from the bridge, between 10am and 4pm. See article below. For further information please contact Martin Jackson (01432) 260224

Posted: Thu - August 17, 2006 at 12:37 PM