ABERAERON’S wooden pedestrian bridge over the river Aeron could be closed as long as a year while works on the town’s near-£32m flood defences scheme take place.
Last August, it was announced that works to protect Aberaeron from flooding with a new coastal defence scheme had obtained Welsh Government funding of nearly £27m.
The £31.59m Aberaeron Coastal Defence Scheme is funded through a £26.85m contribution from the Welsh Government’s Coastal Risk Management Programme, together with a £4.74m contribution from Ceredigion County Council.
The scheme includes the construction of a rock breakwater extending out from North Pier, refurbishment and re-building of pier head of South Pier, construction of flood walls, construction of flood gate at Pwll Cam inner harbour and improvements to the existing defences on South Beach.
The scheme itself was approved at the February 2023 meeting of Ceredigion County Council’s Development Management Committee, with BAM Nuttall Ltd the construction contractors.
A statement by BAM Nuttall Limited ahead of the recent start of works read: “We want to minimise disruption and keep Aberaeron on the move.
“As with any major infrastructure project there will be a lot of construction activity taking place around the town during the course of the project.
“We have thought a lot about how to minimise disruption, but it is inevitable that we will have some impact on travel in the town.”
Since then, concerns have been raised about how long the wooden footbridge in the Pwll Cam harbour would be closed while works on the defences are undertaken.
County Councillor for Aberaeron and Aberarth Elizabeth Evans said she had received many questions from the public on the length of the closure, contacting BAM Nuttall for a response.
Cllr Evans shared a statement from BAM, which read: “As part of our flood defence works, we will temporarily be closing the pedestrian footbridge over the river Aeron for essential works in the harbour.
“There will be a diversion available on the A487 along Bridge Street from Monday, January 29.
“Rock deliveries from local quarries will commence delivery from January 29.”
Cllr Evans added: “The bridge will be closed for up to a year. This is for public safety, and to prevent unauthorised access to the work site.
I do understand it’s frustrating but it’s necessary. The primary and secondary school have been informed.
“I understand it is controversial, but it is necessary.”
BAM Nuttall have been contacted for a response.
Works to protect Aberaeron from coastal flooding have previously included 2009 works at North Beach which had a significant benefit in protecting the north-western part of the town from overtopping flood risk from the sea, but only addressed part of the flood risk problem.
Storms in December 2013, January 2014 and October 2017 led to the closure of Quay Parade and overtopping of the current defences within the harbour and south beach.