Port Talbot’s Historic Halfpenny Bridge Upgraded for Cyclists and Pedestrians
15 December 2016
The historic Halfpenny Bridge which crosses the River Afan is to be replaced by a new upgraded version.
The bridge was first built in 1909 to replace the ancient Canister Bridge which was washed away in the 1909 floods, and provided a crucial pedestrian link for the people of Aberavon.
The bridge was built to service the tinplate works and other industries on the eastern bank of the River. There is some dispute as to how it got its name however.
One story is that it cost every man woman and child a halfpenny as a toll to cross but another story is that it refers to the contributions of workers to pay for the original construction.
The original 1909 bridge has been replaced several times; however this latest version will now be wide enough to allow both pedestrians and cyclists to use it at the same time.
The new bridge will contribute to improved public access in and around the town and will once more provide a link between Aberavon and the regeneration area of Harbourside on the East Bank.
The cost of the new bridge is included in the Green Park Riverside Walk project which is part funded by the Welsh Government and forms part of the Council’s Vibrant and Viable Places Regeneration Programme.
The Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council Councillor Ali Thomas OBE said: “The Halfpenny Bridge is a piece of local history and I am delighted to see it is being improved.
“The bridge was a vital link for people living in Aberavon to cross the river to work and avoid a long round trip.
“Port Talbot has seen many changes over the years but the Halfpenny bridge has been adapted and survived those changes and continues to provide a very important river crossing.”
The existing footbridge will be closed and removed in early January 2017 and the replacement bridge will be installed by the end of that month.
Alternative routes will be installed in the New Year and will be published on the Neath Port Talbot website at www.npt.gov.uk and the Sustrans website for cyclist information at www.sustrans.org.uk.