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30 July 2015, 17:07 | Updated: 30 July 2015, 18:05
The bridge master of Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, David Anderson, has confirmed that the city’s historic landmark will once again close to all pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles for two evenings during this summer’s Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in the nearby Ashton Court Estate.
“I urge people to plan ahead if they are attending the evening events at the fiesta on Thursday 6th August and Saturday 8th August. The bridge will be closed at 6 pm on both these evenings and will remain completely shut until midnight. There will be no access for any pedestrians, cyclists or traffic.”
Evening closures during the fiesta were first implemented eleven years ago following concerns that the 150-year-old landmark could suffer potentially unacceptable structural stresses due to the sheer volume of pedestrian traffic.
“A crowd of pedestrians on the roadway of the bridge creates a far greater loading than normal car traffic and this could cause damage to the bridge and injury to its users,” explained Mr Anderson.
“As in previous years, we have agreed with Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council, Avon and Somerset Police and the event organisers that to ensure the safety of the public and the bridge, the bridge should be closed for the Thursday and Saturday evenings.
While it is safe for its normal use and volume of traffic – both vehicular and pedestrian – the Victorian bridge is old and must be treated with respect. The structure is checked and maintained constantly and we take advice from leading engineering consultants. They have advised us that, if certain loading conditions on the bridge might be exceeded, it could be at risk. Therefore, on those occasions, we will take the precaution of closing the bridge to traffic and pedestrians.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by these bridge closures.”