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This is when Swansea’s tired-looking footbridge is being removed

Swansea’s tired-looking 40-year-old Oystermouth Road footbridge is due to come down on the weekend of February 1/2. 

Its removal will make way – over the coming months – for a much broader, internally lit, covered new landmark bridge that will be part of the £135m indoor arena scheme now being built.

What the new bridge will look like

Swansea Central Phase One will see the 3,500-capacity arena, parkland and parking created on the site of the former Oystermouth Road car park next to the LC.

The new gold-coloured bridge will link all these to the scheme’s new multi-storey car park, commercial units and homes on the site of the St Mary’s temporary ground level car park, close to Tesco Marina.

Here are some of your key questions about the bridge removal, answered by council leader Rob Stewart.

Your questions answered

Why must the bridge be removed?

It’s not suitable for the £135m Swansea Central Phase One transformation scheme which, as a stronger link between city and sea, will see many more people – including arena visitors – walk and cycle over Oystermouth Road.

When is it coming down?

The removal is due to take place overnight from 10pm on February 1 to 10am the following morning. If bad weather intervenes, they’ll reconsider.

What time will the lift actually happen?

It’s difficult to give an exact time at present because the time taken on the preparatory work, including getting the lifting gear into place, is variable. It’s a complex operation so the timings will depend on a number of factors. Most of the time allocated – 10pm to 10am – will be spent setting up and clearing up; the lift itself will take a much more modest length of time in between.

How much of the bridge will be lifted on the night?

The central span – that is the 28m concrete platform that now stretches between the two vertical abutments. The plan is to have removed to southern ramp section beforehand, the northern ramp in the weeks afterwards.

How will it be moved?

Using two 25m-tall 800-tonne cranes.

Who’ll be involved?

Around 25 construction professionals. The operation is being managed – on behalf of the council – by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, the principal contractor on Swansea Central Phase One. The lift will be undertaken by Caerphilly-based Bond Demolition and Baldwins Cranes who have a Swansea depot. Detailed preparation work for moving it has been taking place for several weeks.

Will the public be able to watch the lift?

Yes – at a safe distance. A safety cordon will be set up around the site, it will be well floodlit and marshals will be there to help keep spectators safe. Areas will be made available for viewing. Just ask the marshals!

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Can I photograph or film the lift?

Yes – at a safe distance. Marshals will be around the edge of the lift site, including on the top deck of the St David’s multi-storey car park. Please let them know if you’ll be filming or taking photos – your safety is their priority.

Will the lift operation mean disruption for drivers, local residents and businesses?

We plan to keep this at a minimum. The overnight work will mean the temporary closure of the stretch of Oystermouth Road between its Princess Way and West Way junctions from 10pm on the Saturday to around 10am on the Sunday. Diversions will be signposted. They will take motorists through the city centre, a diversion of one to 1.5 miles. Access for emergency vehicles will be maintained at all times except during the short period of the lift itself. Pedestrians and residents will have to remain out of the main operation area from 10pm-10am. Throughout the Swansea Central Phase One construction work over the next 18 months access to city centre businesses, car parks and attractions will be maintained for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. We thank the public for their understanding and patience at this time as Buckingham undertake the complex construction operations.

What about the pavements beneath the old bridge?

The pavement on the LC side will be temporarily closed until around mid-February. The footway on the multi-storey side will close temporarily once the LC side reopens – and it will stay closed for a few weeks while the bridge ramp on that side is removed. In the case of both temporary closures, pedestrians are asked to use the lights-controlled crossings at the foot of Albert Row and Princess Way, and to continue their journeys on the opposite side.

What will happen to the concrete and metalwork from the bridge?

It will be recycled – broken down by the demolition firm and reused, probably by the construction industry.

What will happen to the commemorative plaque on one of the bridge’s abutments? It commemorates the Swansea and Mumbles Railway 1804-1960.

It’ll be removed with care by Buckingham and handed to the council for future use.

When will the new bridge be put in place?

That’s due to happen in the second half of this year, in good time for the opening – in the second half of 2021 – of the whole Swansea Central Phase One scheme, including the 3,500-capacity arena, car parking, parkland, homes and commercial units. The bridge will open when the whole scheme opens. The aim is to begin work on the new bridge structure straight away.

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