QUESTIONS have been raised about the timing of a decision to close a major city bridge for repairs during term time.

Worcestershire County Council announced it would be carrying out urgent repairs to Sabrina Bridge in Worcester – including removing the main part of the bridge for five weeks and replacing it – but some have queried why the heavily-used bridge would be out-of-use at a time when it is used the most.

The bridge which connects the city and the Hive with the University of Worcester would be used by thousands of students and concerns have been raised the closure would lead to more cars on the road.

Problems could be made worse if traffic increases next to ongoing major roadworks in St John’s.

Dan Brothwell, chairman of cycling campaigners Bike Worcester, said: “Obviously I’ve got my ear to the ground a bit with cycling infrastructure and this seems to have come completely out of the blue.

“I have been pushing for repairs for the surface but I would question why the whole thing needs to be removed but I guess it needs to be.

“I think September, October and November is when you get the most people going across the bridge. It’s just very surprising.

“It all just seems to be a bit secretive and it only comes out when they’re just about to do it. It will be a big impact. It will either be more people driving, which will be terrible, or students having to walk another mile over the road bridge. I’m amazed.”

“I understand these things take a bit of doing but the time to do it was July or August because the students weren’t here.”

The plans are for the span of the bridge to be removed for a month between mid-October and mid-November, according to the council, but would be dependent on weather with heavy rain or strong winds likely to cause disruption.

A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council, said: “All of our major infrastructure projects across the county are carefully planned and coordinated.

“We have liaised very closely with the University of Worcester on the plans for this scheme, as we have done with various other local interested stakeholders.”

Cllr Richard Udall said the bridge was in desperate need of repair but he called the timing of the repairs "incredibly unfortunate."

"The bridge will be closed probably when it is needed most," he said.

"It would not have taken a great amount of forethought to do the work at a time when it was not at such maximum use. The time when everyone is returning to campus is not really a time to close the bridge.

"It doesn't appear that common sense is being used when deciding the times of these things Hopefully it will be done quickly and efficiently and back open as soon as possible."