CAMPAIGNERS demanding a footbridge over the River Usk at Llanellen have won a promise from the Welsh government that a safe alternative will be drawn up soon.
They have been told that plans will be devised within two years for a safe crossing to replace the hazardous Grade ll listed road bridge which is unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians,
Local residents, supported by Abergavenny Cycle Group, claim they take their life in their hands when they use the historic and dangerously narrow humpback option.
Cyclists complain they are often temporarily obscured from the vision of oncoming traffic.
The lobby group maintain the existing footpath running next to the A4042 from the Hardwick Roundabout in Abergavenny towards Pontypool is an ‘excellent and safe route’ for walkers - but not where it is interrupted by the old bridge.
Their grievances, supported by David Davies MP and Nick Ramsay AM, were taken to the Welsh Government which carried out a feasibility study and public consultation for a new crossing.
Now Transport Minister Edwina Hart has confirmed in a letter to Mr Davies that design of the footbridge will be progressed ‘over the next two financial years.’
He said this week, “This is a welcome and essential step forward - but we mustn’t rest on our laurels. We need to keep up the pressure for construction.”
He added, “I regularly drive along this stretch of road and know first-hand how hazardous it is for vehicles to pass each other because of the bridge’s narrow width.
“I would certainly be extremely anxious about walking or cycling across. Indeed, I find it somewhat alarming that people are actively encouraged to use the bridge as part of the advertised Usk Valley Walk.
“I would argue that there is a wider trunk road safety issue which needs to be addressed here, sooner rather than later.”
Llanellen resident and local campaigner Tony Jay thanked everyone who responded to the public consultation exercise which had led to the positive result.
He said, “Completing a design for the proposed footbridge will hopefully lead on to construction - but just in case this does not happen, people may have to mobilise their collective wishes again.
“David Davies and I have noted in our 2017 diaries to follow the project through. Continued public support will no doubt be effective.”