Sunday, November 21, 2010

New bridge for the Wilts & Berks Canal

The Bailey Bridge had to be moved very carefully
making sure that the fibre-optic cables supported
underneath were not disturbed.
An historic steel bridge that was destined for the scapyard will get a new lease of life thanks to the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.

Mendip District Council donated the historic Bailey Bridge to the W&BCT because it is being replaced by a new £200,000 bridge that will be opened in January 2011.

The bridge had spanned the river in Frome since 1986 - but it had to be closed to traffic in 2006 for safety reasons.

The bridge has been taken to Semington where it will be renovated by Trust members and the parts will be used to build a slightly shorter-span farm crossing on the new canal link from the Kennet & Avon Canal at Semington to the River Avon in Melksham. 

Mike Lee the W&B Canal Trust Director of Engineering said, "I worked with the contractors to make sure the bridge was dismantled very carefully so that all reusable parts were saved for renovation although, unfortunately, all of the decking and the stringers that support it had to be scrapped." He continued, "Although we planned how the bridge was to be removed very carefully it was still nerve-wracking to see the structure being lifted out gently by the crane."

WBCT Chairman, John Laverick said, "The Melksham Link project is a key part of our restoration plans and the bridge will be put to good use.
"Many people who use the canal enjoy the connections with our great industrial heritage so we will include interpretative signs on the towpath to highlight the historic significance of this type of bridge. It is an honour to have this historic structure as part of our waterway." 
For more information about Bailey Bridges got to: Bailey Bridge History
Wilts & Berks Canal Trust websitewww.wbct.org.uk
The KAcanalTIMES website is online at: www.kacanaltimes.co.uk

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