The Welsh Government’s announcement of new funding for a walking and cycling bridge across the Usk was warmly welcomed by Abergavenny Cycle Group, a local charity that seeks to improve conditions for cycling in and around the town.

The new bridge is proposed to be sited 300m downstream (east) of the current stone bridge. It will provide a safer, more direct route from the eastern side of Llanfoist into the centre of Abergavenny, encouraging people to make the journey from on foot, by bike, wheelchair or by mobility scooter.

The present route across the old stone bridge has a narrow footway of less than 1.5 metres wide on one side only. Such a narrow footway on such a busy road makes the journey off-putting for many people, especially families with young children and people in wheelchairs or mobility scooters.

The grant of £145,000 covers the final pre-construction phase of the project (access works, public consultation, planning, design and tendering for the construction). Construction is planned for the summer of 2017 at an estimated cost of £800,000, subject to availability of funds.

Jack Thurston, Chairman of Abergavenny Cycle Group, welcomed the news, “We’ve been arguing that the current bridge is dangerous for people on foot and on bikes for years. This is an important step towards a solution. A new bridge will give people the option to travel safely on foot or by bike, as well as improving disabled access. Monmouthshire County Council has presented convincing arguments for a new bridge and the Welsh Government is supporting the plan. It’s terrific news.”

As well as funds for the bridge, Monmouthshire County Council was also successful in its bid for a package of measures to improve infrastructure for cycling and walking in the county. This includes new on street cycle parking in Abergavenny as well as secure, covered cycle parking and public use bike pumps and work stands for the Leisure Centre, Park Street Community Centre and Llanfoist Village Hall. For pedestrians there will be new pedestrian crossings on Llwynu Lane in Mardy and improvements to crossings in the town centre that providing tactile paving to help people with sight loss.

Jack Thurston commented, “Llanfoist Village Hall and the Park Street Community Centre wanted cycle parking and we took their requests to the County Council’s transport and leisure team. It’s great that the Council’s bid has been fully funded and will provide more cycle parking in the centre of town. These are small things but it all helps. We want to make cycling an attractive choice for short journeys and people need to be able to lock up their bikes safely when shopping in the centre of town.”