The sculpture outside Newport train station has been moved temporarily to facilitate work on the new footbridge.
The ‘Archform’ sculpture by Welsh artist Harvey Hood will be finding a new temporary home as Newport council looks to progress plans for the long-awaited footbridge serving the railway station.
The new footbridge linking Devon Place with Queensway would replace the vandalism-prone subway which has been blighted by drugs and anti-social behaviour issues in recent years.
Welsh Government pledged £4 million to the project back in 2014, and the council is set to spend around £2.6 million on the plans in 2021/22.
The work over the railway line has to be completed when no trains are running, so the council has scheduled it to be done over Christmas this year.
Network Rail, which along with the Welsh Arts Council commissioned the sculpture in 1980, will be putting the sculpture in temporary storage until plans for a new permanent home on its land, where it will still be on public view, are finalised.
Councillor Roger Jeavons, Newport City Council’s cabinet member for city services, said: “This is a complex engineering project that has been in the pipeline for some years but can now proceed following the completion of the electrification of the railway line.
“Many residents will remember the old footbridge, with its steep steps either side, which was replaced by the subway in the 1970s. Subways were a popular way of improving walking routes in the 1970s but the new footbridge will provide a safe and accessible alternative for the 21st century.
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“I’m pleased that Network Rail will be finding a new home for Harvey Hood’s sculpture. The railway has played an important role in Newport since the 19th century and this artwork pays tribute to the engineering skills of the Victorian railway pioneers.”
Maura Nelson, associate sponsor at Network Rail, said the bridge would be “a major boost for Newport”, adding that the sculpture would be “returning to public display as soon as possible.”