MYSTERY surrounds the future of a “very rare” Grade II- listed army bridge which has suddenly been closed to vehicles.
A woman who saw the Inglis bridge being closed over the River Monnow in Monmouth on Friday says she was told part of the wooden decking was rotten and it would need £50,000 to repair.
The 87-year-old bridge onto Vauxhall fields is the only surviving crossing of its kind still open to the public, and is popular with walkers and anglers.
The army closed it to vehicles in 2011 saying it needed structural repairs to make it safe, but reopened it after several weeks following an outcry from residents.
Now military bosses have closed it again with signs and bollards, but without telling Monmouth Town Council or other representatives what is happening. Pedestrians can still cross.
Brigid Margaret, who saw the bridge being closed, posted on the Monmouth New Businesses Facebook page that an army officer showed her rotten timber decking that was “dangerous” and needed replacing.
“It will apparently cost about £50,000 to repair. No one has the money. Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) requested the Royal Engineers close the bridge to vehicles,” she said.
An MCC spokesman said: “As a privately maintained vehicular access, the army is responsible for the maintenance of the bridge and they advised us it was no longer safe for vehicular use.
“They have advised that it is safe for pedestrians and the public footpath route remains open.”
A spokesman for Monmouth and District Angling Society also said they had heard that some timber decking planks needed replacing, but didn’t know how long the closure might last.
County councillor Richard Roden (Con, Dixton with Osbaston), who is also on the town Council, said yesterday (Tuesday, February 13) he had just heard about the closure, and was sure “a fuss would be made.”
“There’s been no pre-announcement as far as I’m aware,” he said. “I’ve no doubt it will be of concern to local residents, as a lot of people drive over the bridge and park in the spaces provided and walk their dogs.
“It’s popular with people, so I’m sure there will be representations made to the army to find out what’s happening.”
The army has been asked to comment on the closure, but hadn’t responded before the Review went to print.
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