A FOOTBRIDGE for pedestrians and cyclists described as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” has been approved by Monmouthshire County Council.

The 60-metre bridge over the River Usk will provide a safer crossing over the River Usk for those moving between Abergavenny and Llanfoist.

Questions had been asked about the suitability of the narrow footpath on the Abergavenny Bridge which carries the A4143.

Conservative councillor Giles Howard said the Grade II listed bridge would remain “the star” but said the new bridge would provide a “vital alternative to a substandard footpath”.

Speaking at planning committee on Tuesday, he said: “We’ve got a great opportunity to address highway safety issues. In some respects, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“That pavement is so narrow, people of all ages are within a hair’s breadth of the wheels of articulated lorries as they go thundering past.”

Cllr Howard raised concerns about the location of the bridge, adding that he would have preferred it closer to the existing bridge.

The Llanfoist Fawr councillor also mentioned the bridge’s potential impact on the private amenity space of constituents living in Bridge Cottages.

“Whilst I might not think it’s going to be as bad some residents might fear, I’m not going to have to live there and find out if I’m going to be right or wrong,” he said.

Labour councillor Roger Harris, who was one of several councillors to go to Abergavenny Bridge on a site visit, described the project as a “good scheme”.

He added: “When the artic lorry went buy it really was quite frightening and anyone with loose clothing could’ve quite easily been dragged into the road by it.”

Councillors were met on Abergavenny Bridge by a resident who claimed that there had not been accident on the crossing during the time they had lived there.

But Conservative councillor Phil Murphy told the committee: “I certainly wouldn’t want to be party to turning it down then waiting to see if there is one.”

The bridge will be partly funded with £864,000 from the Welsh Government in the hope that it will encourage active travel between Abergavenny and Llanfoist.