Damaged Ludlow town centre bridge to be closed for 'much longer' than expected
A town's landmark bridge is likely to be closed "much longer" than expected as repairing the damage will be a complex job, it has been claimed.
Engineers are still assessing the damage at Ludford Bridge, Ludlow, a historic Grade I-listed landmark that is also on a main route into the town from the south.
To add to roadwork problems on the south edge of the town, neighbouring street Temeside is set to be resurfaced over Easter, it has been revealed.
A section of the wall of Ludford Bridge was knocked through, taking stone work from the side of the bridge with it, in an accident involving a delivery lorry on Sunday night.
Shropshire Council's highways department has closed the 15th century bridge to all but pedestrians, and initially estimated it would be "at least" three weeks before it reopened.
Diversions are in force around the route, which joins the suburb of Ludford, and ultimately the A49, with Ludlow's Lower Broad Street and town centre.
Speaking at a meeting of Ludlow and Clee local joint committee on Thursday, chairman and Ludlow North councillor Andy Boddington said structural engineers would be further assessing the damage this weekend.
He told the meeting that in his opinion, due to the work that needed to be done there would be no prospect of the bridge re-opening in two or three weeks, meaning it is likely to be closed over the busy Easter period.
Councillor Boddington said: "It's not going to be three weeks. It may well need a dam to retrieve the fallen stone from the river and to ensure the safety of the workers.
"The problem is it is very weather-dependent.
"It will need to be done with lime mortar and you can't set lime mortar at temperatures of under five degrees."
He said recent temperatures had not got above that for any sustained period of time recently, which could pose a problem in carrying out the repairs at this time of year.
"But the good news is that we know who did it and we are going to land the bill on them," he said. However, he said he could not reveal who had crashed into the bridge for legal reasons.
Vivienne Parry, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow South added that the authority had scheduled road resurfacing on one of the roads near Ludford Bridge.
She said: "Temeside is going to be resurfaced at Easter. I did ask if it could be put off, but they said no."
Simon Jones, Shropshire Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said the bridge would re-open to traffic after emergency repairs meant it could be used safely.
Ludford Bridge is a scheduled ancient monument, which was the site of the Battle of Ludford Bridge during the Wars of the Roses in 1459. It was heavily restored in 1886 after a flood.
In January 2011 part of the masonry collapsed into the river below. The bridge has since been repaired.
Due to the damage caused to Ludford Bridge and the subsequent emergency road closure, the planned inspection of Dinham Bridge on March 8 has been postponed.
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