PLANS to divert a footpath so a bridge across the canal in Cwmbran can be built have been submitted to Torfaen Borough Council. 

The 35 metre long road bridge is required to complete a giant housing estate on land west of Cwmbran Drive and south of Sebastopol, approved in 2015. 

House builder Taylor Wimpey was required to build the second of two new crossings over the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal before the occupation of the 650th home as part of the development. 

But it has asked Torfaen Borough Council planners to relax the condition so that the trigger for it having to have a new bridge in place is before the occupation of the 850th house. 

It wants to build the bridge to the north of Five Locks Close, Pontnewydd, and within the canal conservation area. 

The road side of the bridge (Taylor Wimpey)

The bridge, to be known as 45A, will have to carry vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists and will be the second, and southern, crossing, provided as part of the development with the northern crossing, bridge 46, having already been completed and now in use. 

During construction water will have to be removed from a section of the canal and fish relocated while measures to protect the canal from pollution, and protect White-Clawed Crayfish, are also required and an otter shelf will be provided on the western side of the canal under the bridge. 

Work could take between 12 and 18 months and during construction the tow path, which also forms part of National Cycle Route 49, will have to be closed on health and safety grounds. 

A statement submitted to the council has said it’s possible the path needn’t be closed for the entire duration of the construction works, but further details will be known when a contractor has been appointed. 

Local resident Carole Jacob “The canal tow path is a designated active travel route and there will be some people who are unaware of the intended closure for 18 months and more publicity is needed to make this known.” 

The deadline to comment on the plan for the new bridge is Thursday, May 2.