River Avon reopened under Bath's Victoria Bridge

Bright orange buoys stop river traffic from sailing underneath the Victoria Bridge on the River Avon in Bath
Image caption Bridge owners Bath and North East Somerset Council want the listed structure reopened by 2013

A section of the River Avon in Bath, which had been closed to boats amid fears about the safety of a footbridge, has been reopened.

Victoria Bridge, which was used by pedestrians and cyclists, was closed in October 2010 but last November the towpath and river underneath was shut.

Emergency stabilisation work carried out by Bath and North East Somerset Council has now been completed.

River users have been warned the headroom is now 0.5m (20in) lower.

A spokesman for British Waterways said the stretch was now open to river traffic, but he advised "caution" because of the high level of water in the river due to recent heavy rain.

The Liberal Democrat-led council wants to have the listed bridge reopened by winter 2013.

A spokesman said it was working on a three-phase solution to protecting it, which included emergency works, temporary works and full restoration.

He added it was expected the works would cost some £3m, which would be paid out of council reserves or loans.

The towpath remains shut until further notice.

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