This week Newport Council have announced their plans to redevelop the Transporter Bridge, with an £8m investment aiming to double the number of visitors entering the area. Applying for Heritage Lottery funding, the £8m will be spent on repairing the bridge, maintaining it, as well as a new visitor centre. Extending the centre’s opening hours, the council hopes to attract 40,000 annually.
David Hando, chairman of The Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, which runs the visitor centre, said the aim was to improve the tourist experience in a bid to double that figure. This will be achieved through an in-site café as well as improved facilities and parking.
“The preservation of the bridge is the most important thing but then to get a new more workable visitors centre would be ideal so that we can do our work properly,” he said.
Mike Lewis, Newport council’s museums and heritage officer, said if the council was successful in gaining funding, the project would ensure no major work would be required for the next 30 years.
“The bridge is of a structure – it’s metal, it’s in an aggressive environment, it’s always rusting, it just never stops, so every so often we have to invest in repairs and maintenance beyond the norm and this is what this project is about, really.
“It’s about making sure this bridge is available for our children to go and visit and see.”
Opened in 1906, the bridge was built following a request of steelworks owner John Lysaght. Wanting workers living on the Pill side of the River Usk to be able to get to the factory on the side quickly, the bridge has proven to be rather accommodating for both Newport residents as well as tourists.
Regarded by many as the most recognised symbol in the city, securing the future of the Grade I Listed bridge is widely considered as a sound investment.