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Cheshire swing bridge removed for major makeover

A 150-year-old swing foot bridge over Vale Royal Locks on the River Weaver in Cheshire is to get a new lease of life.

Vale Royal Swring Bridge group

We've removed Vale Royal Swing Bridge and transported it on a low loader to Yorkshire for major repair and restoration works.

In place of the listed metal swing bridge will be a temporary footbridge, allowing walkers to continue to cross the locks as part of a popular river walk, just south of the landmark A556 Blue Bridge, near Northwich.

The project has been funded jointly by the Trust and the National Lottery's Heritage Lottery Fund through The Saltscape Landscape Partnership.

A complex operation

David Thorne, project manager with the Canal & River Trust, worked with contractors Kier to crane out the bridge onto a barge using a bespoke gantry, float it 100 metres down-river and then crane it from the river on to an HGV low loader by the Blue Bridge for the start of its road journey across the Pennines to a fabrication yard in Doncaster.

“This has been a complex operation to remove the bridge from a fairly inaccessible stretch of river. We have had to perform two delicate lifts of this 8.5 tonne structure which have gone like clockwork thanks to a superb team effort on site,” he said.

“This is one of the iconic original bridges installed when the River Weaver was converted into a navigation for boats carrying salt and other goods in the mid-19th century.

“The renovation work involves cleaning, shot-blasting and priming to prevent further corrosion before the bridge is put into storage for 12 months. The second phase of the renovation works will be in spring 2017 and will include extensive repairs to the structure and re-painting before the bridge is re-installed a few months later.”

Last Edited: 17 March 2016

photo of a location on the canals
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