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Demolition of the damaged Castle Inn Bridge in Treforest to begin

The main demolition phase for the Castle Inn Bridge in Treforest will start on site from Monday, April 24. The activity over the coming weeks will enable the permanent replacement bridge to be installed during the summer.

Castle Inn Bridge is a Listed structure that spans the Afon Taff between River Street in Treforest and Cardiff Road in Glyntaff. It previously provided a local link between the B4595 and A4054 – however, the bridge was severely damaged in Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, and is closed to ensure safety.

The Council has received Listed Building Consent to demolish the structure from Welsh Government’s Planning Directorate, in close consultation with Cadw. Full planning consent was then granted for the project in March 2022.

The new single-span bridge will be around 35-metres in length and 3.5-metres wide, to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists. The undercarriage of the new bridge will carry a Dwr Cymru Welsh Water foul sewer pipe, while the scheme has also included replacing a section of the river wall at Cardiff Road which has already been completed.

The scheme is designed to deliver a huge improvement to flood defences at this location. The existing bridge was found to have caused major flooding at Cardiff Road in Storm Dennis, effectively acting as a blockage within the river. The new bridge, combined with riverbank changes, will reduce this flood risk.

While the bridge needs to be replaced for this reason, the Council has worked very closely with Cadw to preserve its heritage and inform the historic record of the Listed structure. Archaeologists will be present during the demolition phase, which will reveal key details about how the historic bridge was built.

The new structure is designed sympathetically and in-keeping with the original bridge. Some elements are able to be re-used – for example, the stonework will be used to face the walls of the new structure, A permanent information board displaying the bridge’s historic record will also be installed locally.

Demolition phase from Monday, April 24

Work to prepare for the demolition phase got underway recently, utilising two-way traffic lights near Castle Inn Bridge on Cardiff Road. The traffic lights will remain in place for the seven weeks of work to remove the bridge from April 24 – but no additional traffic management is required for the demolition.

A large excavator will access the bridge from the east to demolish the bridge’s western arch first. Activity will move to the central arch and finally the eastern arch. A pontoon will be established, holding an excavator to access various elements of the structure. Divers will then remove the remaining piers to the river bed level.

Main construction phase later this year

Work to install the new bridge will start this summer. Construction of the bridge abutments is due to start in July and the installation of the new bridge will follow on. A section of Cardiff Road near the bridge will need to close in the school summer holiday. The final elements of the scheme, like work to the wingwalls and the resurfacing of Cardiff Road, will take place from September.

Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Investment, said: “Site activity in the coming weeks will demolish the Castle Inn Bridge in Treforest, which is an important landmark to replace the structure. The main construction phase will then follow on during the summer months utilising a road closure in the summer holiday, to open the new bridge for the community later this year.

“The Council remains committed to repairing, maintaining and future-proofing bridges and other key infrastructure across the County Borough, with £4.45m allocated for Highways Structures in the latest 2023/24 Capital Programme. The Castle Inn Bridge scheme is part of a separate £20.1m Storm Dennis repair programme this year, funded by Welsh Government and delivered by the Council, to continue our response to the unprecedented storm event.

“The process of replacing Castle Inn Bridge has been very complex due to the nature of the work and the structure’s Listed status. Key considerations have included obtaining permissions for the work, significant utility diversions, major design and planning phases, and environmental restrictions for river working.

“While it’s clear that the bridge needs replacing to significantly reduce flood risk, we are working very hard to preserve its heritage where possible. Our final scheme has Cadw’s consent, and will greatly contribute to the bridge’s historic record – with some elements of the original structure being re-used.

“I’d like to thank residents for their continued cooperation as the demolition work begins from Monday, April 24. No additional traffic management is needed on top of the traffic lights currently in place at Cardiff Road until the summer holidays. We will keep local residents up-to-date as further milestones are reached and will communicate arrangements for the main construction phase in due course.”