'New hurdle' for Bristol's Harbourside businesses as Prince Street bridge needs repairs

Urgent repairs are taking place at a bridge in the city centre so it can swing open for boats again. Credit: ITV News

Businesses affected by a swing bridge fault in Bristol say it is severely affecting trade.

The Grade II listed Prince Street Bridge, which goes across Bristol Harbour, is under going urgent repairs meaning some boats used for tours and cruises are unable to get through.

Luke Dunstan who owns Bristol Packet Boat Trips says his boat, the Tower Belle, is too big to sail under the bridge meaning it is stuck in the bottom end of the harbour.

Luke said: "We have been through two years of hell and now trying to negotiate a new hurdle.

"The Tower Bell, which was going to accommodate trips going up stream, is now just utilising the bottom end of the harbour, and the parties that were booked on there are having to go onto smaller boats.

"We have also had to give back many deposits, and we are now having to contact hundreds of parties to inform them of the situation and try and rearrange their trip."

Luke's customers will either get a reduction on their ticket or a refund and the trip wont go ahead.

Luke Dunstan from Bristol Packet Boat Trips.

The urgent work started on Friday (20 May) to repair the structure that was built in 1879.

Engineers removed the press so it can be inspected which is expected to take around two weeks.

A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said: "We urgently need to repair a mechanism that allows Prince Street Bridge to swing open so our boating community can use this waterway.

"With a listed bridge such as this, we need expert engineers to assess the heritage mechanisms and carry out these essential repairs."

The bridge is still open to pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic and the council says it will update mariners as soon as it knows more.