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Temporary closure of footpath 11

posted 14 Aug 2016, 03:04 by David Carlisle   [ updated 14 Aug 2016, 03:36 ]

 

ADVANCE NOTICE: TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF FOOTPATH 11

Notification has been received from the Canal and River Trust that further remedial work is required on the swing bridge over the canal just beyond the Chisnell farm buildings. At the moment it seems likely that there will be a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO), closing Footpath 11, (from Chisnell Farm to the canal), between October 2016 and February 2017.

The following information is from the Canal and River Trust:

Dates of PROW closure:

At present, we are awaiting confirmation of costs for our intended works from our contractors, along with their intended construction programme. This will then determine more precise dates that the bridge will be closed from and to. The request that I have made from October through to February is worst case, but I can see this maybe being reduced as we finalise our plans. At present, we should be having this information back to use by the end of this month so I can update you again at that time.

Detail works being done:

The bridge and section of the canal will be dewatered in November and December. This will mean closure of canal to boats, but the towpath will remain open

The bridge deck will be temporarily removed to allow for safe working within the canal, the rebuilding of sections of wall and hopefully the strengthening of the bridge deck itself since it is actively used by landowners to reach their fields. Two new brick approach walls are being built.

Brick repairs to the remaining two approach walls and 2 abutments

Repairs to the canal floor to prevent further scour / erosion and the same thing happening again

Works are intending to use handmade bricks and lime mortar

Listed Building consent applied for

Working with English Heritage to agree correct and suitable methods of repair

Temporary Bridge:

The idea of a temporary bridge has been mentioned and discussed by me with the following people:

CRT Management, out contractors, yourself, Sarah, landowners and our boating community.

Despite trying, the cost of a temporary bridge to allow boaters to pass underneath it and be suitable for people to walk over is proving very high. The high costs are not only due to the length / span that would be needed, but also due to location. As you are aware, this bridge is in an extremely rural setting, which means a long way to transport everything to the site by water or via landowners fields. A slight reduction in cost would be to have a temporary crossing only when the canal is shut. This idea however wouldn’t work since we need to have the main PROW closure and bridge deck removed for a longer period than when the canal is shut in order to undertake site set up and maximise our time in the dewatered canal to undertake bridge repairs.

I have tried to gain sponsorship for this temporary bridge and whilst partially successfully, have fallen woefully short of the projected cost.

I am still trying to get different costs / design options investigated and reviewed, but am mindful that the area of land required, along with access over the landowners fields and timeframes are not in our favour.  Lastly, I was also disappointingly informed by the council that even if there was a temporary footbridge / crossing with a very short (no more than 100m) deviation off the designated PROW, I was still going to be charged a full fee for the full duration of my works, to the same cost as if I was applying for a full PROW closure with no temporary bridge.

Second Closure in recent years:

The bridge was previously closed by CRT on 30th October 2014, reopening on 1st April 2015. A TTRO was in place from 17th Nov 2014 to 1st April 2015. The reason for this closure was that during routine bridge inspections, it was noticed that the canal wall was failing. This led to divers being brought to site to confirm how bad the damage was, with the results showing very poor. The bridge was chained / locked in the open position, so not affecting boat users (although the canal was shut in other locations due to planned stoppages so technically no boats were using this section of waterway for 2 months anyway) but it did result in the closing of the PROW. This closure did not stop emergency services or access to the adjacent property so long as we were made aware. The decision was made to chain open the bridge to prevent the bridge deck from continually “bouncing” every time it was opened and shut, therefore dislodging more brickwork which could eventually lead to catastrophic bridge failure (this did happen to a nearby bridge 215, at the same time as this temporary closure, resulting in complete loss of all brickwork and the deck, with it all ending up in the bottom of the canal and rendered unsalvageable).

Emergency plans were put in place to undertake temporary repair works (the same ones that I eluded to above). The temporary works had to be designed costed and implemented, all with agreement with our engineers, our local heritage team and also English Heritage. These agreements were not made and signed off until well into the new year, and by the time all parties had signed and agreed, it was March 2015. The actual repairs works once the contractors were out on site in March 2015 took a short amount of time, allowing the bridge and PROW to be re-opened 1st April 2015.

As you can see, attempts have been made to keep the Pubic Right of Way, (PROW) open by means of a temporary bridge, but it looks as though the cost of this will be prohibitive. I will post any further update on the notice boards and website.

 

Katy Draper  Souldern Parish Council   katydraper@souldern.org.