The planned Metrobus route, formerly the line to Ashton Meadows sidings, has been tidied up.
This includes the line over Ashton Avenue Bridge (Rails are still extant on this section)
The clearance has exposed the old permanent way huts, some sleepers, and electrical boxes.
Metrobus, the guided busway project in Bristol, has now been given financial backing and construction is due to start in 2015.
The busway scheme is set to use sections of the former BHR, joining at Ashton Junction (Going ‘up and over’ the Portishead Railway line on a bridge), then across the old sidings at Ashton Meadows, under the Cumberland bypass, then crossing the New Cut at Ashton Avenue Bridge. From here, it is intended that the buses take the route of the current BHR, joining onto Cumberland Road itself adjacent to the ‘West Yard’ throat.
The Metrobus Website has published the aims for the refurbishment of Ashton Avenue bridge, the deteriorating condition of which was one of the factors in the BHR ceasing operations South of the river in the 1990s.
The full webpage is here, but here are some excerpts:
Ashton Avenue Bridge is on Bristol City Council’s Listed Building At Risk Register.
The register describes the bridge as being in a very bad condition with clear signs of structural instability and says the bridge in its current state is at “immediate risk of further rapid deterioration”.
The MetroBus project will restore the Victorian bridge and return it to its original role as a public transport corridor
English Heritage have been consulted on our plans for the bridge and support the works to conserve it.
Restoring the bridge
Pedestrians and cyclists will still to be able to use the bridge after it has been restored. The restoration works include a lane for the MetroBus and a 3.5 metre pedestrian and cycle path that is wider, smoother and a safer environment than the current path.
Lighting will also be provided on the bridge, making it a much safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists using the bridge at night.
The proposed restoration works also include:
– Repair of corrosion damage which would otherwise compromise the long term durability of the bridge.
– Removal of graffiti.
– Removal of vegetation from piers and the bridge deck.
– Removal of temporary repair measures including metal mesh fencing.
– Removal of guardrail separating pedestrian walkway from rail line.
– Replacement of badly corroded deck plates.
– Repairs to trusses to allow drainage modification works which will reduce future corrosion.
The Government has approved Bristol’s rapid transit Metrobus scheme, as reported by the BBC here:
Previously, the plans called for the railway line along the New Cut to be rebuilt into a combined busway and railway. This route has now been amended so that buses will use Cumberland Road, and will not run along the harbourside.
The current plans envisage a remodelling of the railway near the Create Centre to accommodate the busway as it crosses a rebuilt Ashton Avenue Bridge. The plans have the busway utilise the current railway alignment in order to join Cumberland Road on the level, with the railway being re-aligned.
Details of the plans (Including the amended route) are available on the Metrobus website:
Here is a plan of the proposed works. Please note that the revised route for the BHR is not shown, as it is yet to be decided.