THE bridge carrying the railway over the River Wye is to have a multi-million pound upgrade.

While engineers say they will k eep disruption to a minimum, there will be a number of occasions when they will have to work through the night.

The 170-year-old bridge over the river Wye is undergoing a major refurbishment as part of a wider package of work to secure the future of the Severn Estuary line.

The Grade II listed bridge carries passenger and freight trains over the river Wye between South Wales and the West Country, Midlands and north of England.

This £4.6 million investment is part of a larger package of work by Network Rail is delivering on this section of the Wales and Borders route, with work also taking place towards Lydney as part of the Severn Estuary Resilience Programme.

Engineers will carry out steelwork repairs, waterproofing, masonry repairs, as well as strengthening and re-constructing the abutments on Chepstow Viaduc, which is known locally as the Tubular Bridge

The historic viaduct was designed by the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1852 to take the railway into South Wales.

Although the majority of the structure has since been changed, Brunel’s original tubular supports are still in-place.

It is considered one of Brunel’s major achievements and became the basis of design for the iconic Royal Albert Bridge, which links Devon and Cornwall.

Lee Ackerman, scheme project manager at Network Rail, said: “It’s a privilege to be upgrading a historic piece of railway engineering.

“This bridge has played an important role in linking Wales and England for more than 150-years, and we plan on ensuring that it can continue to do that for many more to come.

“As always, we are aiming to complete this project as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to an absolute minimum.”

The work on Chepstow Viaduct is not expected to disrupt train services with the majority taking place from 7.30am to 5.30pm to reduce noise disturbance for the local community. There will be some dates when engineers will need to work through the night. These include:

Wednesday 5 – Tuesday 11 April (inclusive), Friday 19 – Friday 26 May (inclusive) , Friday 30 June – Thursday 27 July (inclusive),Wednesday 2 – Wednesday 30 August (inclusive), Tuesday 5 September – Monday 2 October (inclusive), Friday 6 October – Thursday 2 November (inclusive), Wednesday 8 November – Tuesday 5 December (inclusive).

There will also be occasions in the summer when the line will have to be closed to allow engineers to work safely.

The dates of these closures will be announced nearer the time.