RESIDENTS of a small hamlet near Chirk are incensed that a bridge crossing over the River Ceiriog has remained closed for 14 months - without a single stroke of working being done.

The narrow bridge over the river in Pontfaen has been closed to all traffic, including pedestrians, since December 2009 with motorists having to travel several miles out of their way.

But the situation is even worse for those pedestrians who have virtually been isolated.

They can see the Chirk and Wrexham bound bus on the Glyn Ceiriog road just a couple of hundred yards away, but their path is barred by scaffolding and wire.

In November, a Wrexham County Borough Council spokesman said: “Unfortunately works did not start as scheduled on November 8. This is due to the time it is taking to develop the designs for the temporary scaffolding to support the Grade II listed bridge while the repairs are carried out.

“We are working with the contractor and the Environment Agency to ensure that the measures we take are acceptable to all parties, both on environmental grounds and to protect the long term integrity of the bridge.”

Local resident Lesley Carson says she would usually have crossed the bridge and walked to Chirk railway station to catch a train to visit her daughters in Wrexham, but for the last 14 months they have had to come and fetch her by car, robbing her of her independence.

“It is a pain in the neck. It was a 20 minute walk to the station, but I can’t get there now. My normal life has been affected,” she said.

Another Pontfaen resident, Marjorie Tibbett, said: “Even those people with cars were complaining about the long diversions as fuel prices soared. One visitor from Manchester said it was quite a nuisance finding different ways to her son’s house near the bridge.

“With petrol the price it is, we should be finding the shortest route, not the longest.” 

This week John Bradbury, chief environment officer for Wrexham Council, said: “We are aware of the long wait that residents have had and we can assure them we are doing everything we can to bring a speedy end to their inconvenience.

“We will be contacting them very shortly with details of the start of the works.”