MOTORISTS are facing five months of traffic chaos from roadworks to be carried out on an historic Rhuddlan bridge.
A recent inspection of the bridge, located on Station Road, found the cast iron cantilevered sections, which overhang the original stone structure, are in desperate need of repair.
Traffic crossing the site will now be restricted to single file while the repair work is carried out on the bridge, which spans the River Clwyd, between February 3 and June 30.
Cllr David Smith, cabinet lead member for Environment, said: “We fully understand the disruption these measures may cause motorists but safety must come first and it is clear to us that this is the least worst option and is justified in the circumstances.”
Council bosses have called the work an “urgent measure” to ensure the integrity of the bridge while Denbighshire Council assesses future options.
Chris Ruane, MP for the Vale of Clwyd, said: “There have already been roadworks along the high street over the past couple of weeks and this has caused delays with people trying to avoid the traffic lights.
“Any work on that bridge will again cause huge disruption for residents and businesses in Rhuddlan.”
Anybody wishing to use the bridge is urged to do so only if absolutely necessary.
Mr Ruane added: “I would hope the diversion along the bypass is very well signposted to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum and I will be keeping a close watch on how this progresses.”
The bridge, which was erected in 1595, is the third of its kind on the site – with the original structure built in 1297.
Definitive plans for the future of the bridge will not be determined for a number of months as investigations continue to determine the best course of action for the site’s permanent security.
Rhuddlan county councillor Ann Davies, said: “It is a Grade II listed building as well as a scheduled monument and therefore, in addition to it being a very valued transportation link for the local population, it is of significant historical value.
“Ultimately a permanent solution needs to be found to address the structural weakness, but this will take many months of research to select an appropriate scheme and funding needs to be found.”
Further delays are expected when the A547 Abergele Road between Rhuddlan and Kinmel Bay will be closed on Tuesday, February 4 between 7.30am and 3.30pm for carriageway repairs.