Gloucestershire concerns over closure of A4019 bridge

Three councils are concerned about the planned closure of a bridge over the M5 in Gloucestershire for up to one year.

The Highways Agency wants to close the A4019 between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury for £12m of "urgent repairs" to the bridge at junction 10 of the motorway.

Council bosses have joined forces to oppose the plans and drawn up a list of demands for the Highways Agency.

An agency spokesman said the bridge was approaching the end of its working life and action was needed.

Councillor Will Windsor Clive, from Conservative-controlled Gloucestershire County Council, said there was no doubt the closure would cause "major disruption" and the council "simply don't believe" the work would take a whole year.

Start Quote

"The bridge is now approaching the end of its working life and we needed to take action to maintain safety”

End Quote Spokesman, Highways Agency

Both Tewkesbury Borough Council and Cheltenham Borough Council have also expressed concerns that the closure would have a serious affect on the residents, visitors and local economy in both towns.

'Disappointing'

The three councils have drawn up a list of demands for the Highways Agency as they have no power to prevent this work going ahead.

Demands include 24-hour work, compensation for local businesses, improved junctions on the diversion routes and that the M5 southbound and northbound slip roads are kept open at all times.

The Highways Agency said the councils' requests were being taken into consideration and it would be able to facilitate the majority of them.

"The bridge is now approaching the end of its working life and we needed to take action to maintain safety and protect this important link between Cheltenham and Gloucester," said a spokesman.

Jonathan Leaman, from Cheltenham's Chamber of Commerce, said: "Cheltenham suffers badly with very poor road access as it is, so it is disappointing that this is going to cause further problems."

Work on the bridge, which has been in place for 40 years, has been scheduled to begin in March 2012 following the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival.

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