VILLAGERS in Bidford face months of disruption after it was revealed work to repair a medieval bridge could take up to six months.
The 600 year-old bridge across the Avon was badly damaged after a crop-sprayer smashed into the historic structure while crossing last week. The bridge has been closed to road traffic since – but remains open for cyclists and pedestrians.
The route, the B4085 Honeybourne Road, is one of the main roads in and out of Bidford, and its closure has forced motorists to take lengthy detours.
Businesses directly next to the bridge have sparked concerns businesses could be hit over the summer by the closure.
Harvey Charlton, owner of The Frog riverside pub, described the accident as “a catastrophe for the entire village.”
He said: “Since it happened it’s been a lot quieter in the village. People probably see the work going on and would head elsewhere like into Stratford or the other villages. We rely a lot on the summer visitors and a lot of the restaurants and eateries like ourselves are going to feel the hit.
“We have been left in the dark and we have yet to be told how long this really could take. We appreciate that it’s not like repairing a modern bridge but we should be kept in the loop.”
A meeting took place on Wednesday June 17 between key stakeholders and local councillors to discuss the future of the bridge and the work that needs to be done.
A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson this week said experts were assessing the damage and making the bridge safe. Work will then start to find the right materials to repair the bridge to maintain its historic character.
A spokesman said: “Isolated elements to the work will require closure but we will endeavour to maintain access for pedestrians and cyclists throughout the duration of the repair which we anticipate will take four to six months.”
The council have also assured residents and businesses it was doing all it could to keep disruption to a minimum minimise disruption – including providing extra parking and signs to ensure visitors knew businesses were still running as normal.