New Look Eastham Bridge Reopens

bridge openThe rebuilt Eastham Bridge opened yesterday (Thursday 27 April) at 3pm.

Reporters, photographers and film crews were amongst the first people to travel across the new bridge, near Tenbury Wells.

Construction is still in progress and the scheme will be completely finished later this summer, however works have now reached a stage where we are able to open the bridge to traffic, under temporary signal control.

Jon Fraser, Highways Manager, said: “We are delighted that Eastham Bridge is re-opening. Everybody associated with the scheme has worked incredibly hard to get us to this position, and we are looking forward to the full completion of the project in the summer. I am sure the local community will welcome the reconnection of the village to the A443.”

The Grade II listed Eastham Bridge in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, collapsed into the River Teme on 24 May 2016. Since then, work to rebuild the bridge has progressed well.

Work remaining on the project includes the fixing of vehicle restraint barriers to the parapet, the removal of temporary cofferdams from the river, and general site clearance and tidy-up.

Once open, the new Eastham Bridge will eliminate the need for the current 10-mile traffic detour.

Facts about the new Eastham Bridge

  • The bridge is supported by twelve reinforced concrete pile foundations that go down to a depth of 25 metres
  • Our contractors reclaimed and cleaned 12,500 bricks from the old structure that will be used as cladding for the new bridge
  • The very first vehicle to drive across the bridge will be the Lindridge First School minibus, being driven by Derek Trow – the same bus and driver that noticed the first signs that the old bridge was about to collapse
  • The main span of the bridge consists of two pairs of braced steel beams, 33 metres long and weighing in at 84 tonnes, which would be the equivalent weight of 15 mature male African elephants
  • The steel has been produced in Britain; manufactured in Teesside, 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 1880s and were on site to safely oversee the delivery ready for assembly

Eastham Bridge: restoration & construction

MarkMills
Mark Mills at the end of Eastham Bridge

Today’s blog coincides with the re-opening of Eastham Bridge, under traffic management, just within a year of the collapse of the brick-built structure.

In interview with Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service Mark Mills, Worcestershire County Council Project Manager, responsible for the restoration & construction of the new river crossing, describes the process, from clear-up of the collapsed material in September and October of 2016, through to completion in early summer of 2017 (clips very kindly edited by Julia Letts).

Bricks
A portion of 1790s and 1890s re-claimed bricks