The stone steps descend steeply from Upper Street, Totterdown, to meet Bath Road close to Totterdown Bridge.
On Friday evening, pedestrians wanting to use the steps found them fenced off with signs saying “Danger – Strictly No Admittance”.
But there was no explanation why the steps – a popular short cut for residents of upper Totterdown – had been closed or how long they would be shut.
Now the council has told the Voice that the steps are unsafe. The empty plot at the bottom of the steps is being built on by a contractor – and it appears that the building work has undermined the wall adjoiing the steps, making them potentially dangerous.
The council has told the builder that they must carry out work to stabilise the steps, but has warned that this may take some time, quite possibly until the New Year.
A Bristol city council spokesperson said: “The Thunderbolt Steps have been closed on safety grounds after excavations on a nearby development in Bath Road undermined the supporting walls connected to them. We are in contact with the developer who has agreed to start stabilisation work next week. The steps will remain closed until this work is complete, which could be until the New Year.”
Residents on Twitter have expressed their frustration, pointing out that the steps are a “well used route, and makes it hard for people to get to the bus stops on Bath Road”.
Some frustrated people have taken to climbing over the barriers – though the council statement makes that sound very unadvisable.