New iron bridge proposal from KWAG

Following the rejection by BCC Planning of the Highways Dept plan to raise the bridge, the Kingsweston Action Group (KWAG) has put forward a counter proposal. This involves restoring the bridge at its current height, but installing ‘sacrificial goalposts’ – prominent metal height restrictors – at either end of the cutting, to prevent high sided lorries using the route.

What follows is from the KWAG September 2019 newsletter:

KWAG had a very insightful meeting with Dorothea Restoration this month. Dorothea is a restoration company with key expertise in historic metalwork including several projects with Bristol City Council. They have important experience in restoring historic bridge structures like our own including a very similar cast iron one over the Kennet & Avon Canal in Bath.

They have advised that the only feasible approach for the bridge is for it to be dismantled on-site, taken away for repair and restoration, and rebuilt back in place. The possibility of craning the structure out complete was rejected as impractical as the structure would simply disintegrate due to the way it’s fabricated and the current fragile state it’s been left in.

Dorothea have suggested it would take a week to dismantle, three months to strip, repair, re-cast broken sections and repaint, and then a further week to reassemble back in the cutting. This would require the temporary road closure for the week of removal and the one of replacement; if the bridge were raised the required work to raise the bridge abutments would increase the required closure period. We have asked Dorothea Restoration to provide us with a quotation for compiling a method statement for dismantling and restoration that’s missing from the present planning application.

KWAG are backing Historic England’s proposition to reinstate the bridge in its current location and ensure its protection with height restrictors either side. This has the huge benefit of being far, far, cheaper than the current planning application proposals to raise the bridge which, it has been suggested, would be in the region of £2m, it would minimise road closure periods, and conserve the bridge in a largely unaltered state.

KWAG has developed proposals that we hope will prove less intrusive than those currently proposed and would like feedback from anyone interested in the future of the Listed bridge. You will see our proposals here which include the construction of sacrificial “goalpost” height restrictors at the principal junctions with Shirehampton Road and Westbury Lane to the south of Kingsweston Hill, and Kings Weston Lane in the north.

We’re fully aware that these structures are not the prettiest in the world. They would necessarily need to be well-lit and obvious, to prevent high sided vehicles from hitting them, but would form a first line of defence for the historic bridge beyond. Our proposals seek to place them as far away from the bridge as possible to minimise visual intrusion, and ensure lorries that did stray in this direction had appropriately early warning to be able to turn away from the restrictors without needing to reverse.

Above: Impression of height restrictors from the north side from Kings Weston Lane 

We genuinely need public feedback on these proposals before we develop them into a more finished form for planning, so if you have any comments or concerns please email us with them. We will be circulating these sketches to Historic England, The Georgian Group, Avon Gardens Trust, and other objectors to the current planning application to get their thoughts to. If we get general support from everyone we will continue working these designs up.

Above: Impression of height restrictors from the north side from Shirehampton Road 

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