Second bridge roll-out attempt May 5 & 6?


Looks like it won’t be until after May Day before contractors have another go at rolling out the new single-span bridge that has been designed and constructed to replace the old Destructor across the River Avon.

This new connection between the on-going Crest Nicholson residential development at Bath Riverside and the rest of the city hit a technical hitch and was pulled back shortly after what was hoped would have been a triumphant launch on Monday evening last – April 18th.

The structure ran out of alignment and had to be retracted before it got stuck with no hope of a proper connection with the opposite bank.

Now it seems they will try again over May 5 & 6 – according to information Bath Newseum has been given.

Here’s Monday’s report – before things started to go wrong!

After months and months of preparation the newly-constructed  and contemporary designed single-span bridge – destined to replace the old Destructor – was ready for launching across the River Avon – down on the Bath Riverside development site.

The ‘red nose’ device fitted to the front of the new bridge which will guide it across the river.

Where once stood gas holders – in the middle of what was a bustling industrial bankside – Crest Nicholson have been busy creating a whole new residential community.

One which will need new links with the city that surrounds it and one that will help regenerate this brown field site.

An image of the new ‘Destructor’ bridge in place!

It should have been a joyous occasion. The new ‘Destructor’ – prefabricated in Italy out of Macedonian steel – had been put together on the Bath riverbank where welders have laboured in all manner of bad weather – to get the structure ready for its roll-out across the Avon.

The individually powered buggy device being used to push the bridge out across the river.

However, all did not go according to a very well laid out plan – as we will find out shortly.

The site is restricted on the Upper Bristol Road side and there would not be room to have cranes on either side just lifting the structure into place.

Part of the single-arched prefabricated bridge

So a system was worked out to gently push the assembled bridge across the river. An operation planned to take days to achieve and then weeks to secure the new ‘Destructor bridge’ into place.

As we waited for the green light – to begin the operation – we heard from Ian Firth who is Chief Operating Officer for Flint Neill – the company who designed the new bridge.

Shortly afterwards the operation came to a halt. When l returned early this morning- Tuesday, April 19th – l heard there had been a problem with keeping the bridge on the correct alignment.

They had decided to stop before reaching the point of no return where the bridge might have been literally between ‘the devil and the deep blue sea’. Unable to pull back and unable to dock correctly with its mountings on the other side of the river.

Crest Nicholson Regeneration have today ( Thursday, April 21st) issued the following statement:

“Moving the new 400 tonne Destructor Bridge into place involves pushing the

bridge at a controlled rate over the river with specialist equipment. Such

an operation requires a great degree of accuracy. On Monday during the

initial phase of the launch the bridge started to move very slightly off the

required precise alignment by a matter of millimetres. This deviation was

unexpected and therefore Britannia Construction moved the bridge back into

its initial position to allow them to address the issue to ensure the bridge

can be placed accurately and safely across the river.”

 The river and the recycling centre are open again until work on moving the bridge starts up once more. When that will be we still do not know.

In the meantime there must be an awful lot of disappointment amongst a crack team of designers and bridge builders for whom this was going to be a crowning moment. Let’s hope they don’t have too long to wait.

The old Destructor bridge

Elsewhere,  there’s much talk about a new name for the bridge. B&NES are considering a competition but l am noticing everyone talking about this being the new ‘Destructor bridge’. Why not! What do you all think?