CHEPSTOW traders have voiced their disappointment that repairs to the town’s Old Wye Bridge will close it for seven months from July.

Monmouthshire council announced last week that structural repairs to the bridge and maintenance painting will close it from July 14.

The landlady of The Castle Inn, Arlette Marsden, said: “It’s an inconvenience more than anything. Why not delay it until after the season? Pubs struggle enough without that.

“The timing is all bad. These things have to be done but closing in July, August and September is right through our peak season.”

While Kay Easton, whose husband Paul runs CJ Locksmiths on Elmdale, said she expected their journeys into work and home to take 20 to 25 minutes longer without using the bridge.

She said: “It’s going to cause a lot of traffic in Chepstow. I can’t understand why it’s going to take seven months – and they’re closing the bridge for the festival.”

And Keith Skidmore, owner of Motor Services of Chepstow, said: “I wouldn’t have thought the closure would affect my business but it’s hard to tell with these things. It will be an inconvenience for local people who come that way. 28 weeks is a long time.”

The bridge, which will be 200-years-old in 2016, will undergo a number of structural repairs and maintenance painting. Diversion signs will be put up by the council when the works take place.

There will be pedestrian access over it except at times when it will need to be shut off for scaffolding to be put up and taken down. Any cyclists using the bridge will need to dismount and push their bikes over it.

The main aspect of the work, which will ensure the maintained durability of the bridge, will include blast cleaning of metal work, replacement of sheared bolts and repairs to fractured cast iron deck plates.

And design and stitch repairs will be made to cracked cast iron members and corroded rivets will be replaced.