Work to replace Eastham Bridge took a step forward Tuesday (Tuesday February 7) with the arrival of the steel for the giant beams, that will form a major part of the new structure.
The steel has been produced on home grown soil, manufactured in Teeside, from 504 individually cut steel plates welded into 12 steel girders and 134 angle bracings. These were then fabricated in Port Talbot, South Wales by long-established family company Braithwaite Engineers Ltd. The company has been trading since the 1880’s and were on site to safely oversee the delivery ready for assembly.
The girders will be fixed together in an area adjacent to the site to form four beams, which will be connected together in two braced pairs. The overall finished length will be 33m which will span the River Teme and the total weight will be 84 tonnes, which would be the equivalent weight of 15 mature male African elephants.
Cllr Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Highways said: “The work is going at full pace and the arrival of the steel for the beams is a major milestone. I am also pleased to say that we have been able to use British steel and British firms, supporting this country’s manufacturing industries as well as the local economy.”
Cllr Ken Pollock, Local Member of Worcestershire County Council added: “I am delighted with progress so far and it is very encouraging to start to see the actual construction of the bridge taking shape. However there is still a way to go and we are conscious of winter weather issues but so far progress has been good.”
At the end of February (subject to weather), the A443 at Eastham will be completely closed for one weekend to allow a 500 tonne capacity mobile telescopic crane to lift the steel beams into position. Exact details and timings will be announced within the next few weeks.
Following on, the next stage will be to create the bridge deck which will see the opening of the new bridge to traffic under traffic management in the spring.
Works will then continue on site to complete the project in the summer.