A round of applause from delighted onlookers cheered on our engineers as they craned the Big Lock Footbridge back into position over the Trent & Mersey Canal, after a year-long restoration of the heritage landmark costing £330,000.
The original footbridge, supported by 1891 bullhead railway rails, had to be closed ahead of repairs just under two years ago, with a temporary pedestrian crossing installed alongside it. Last June, we created a special cradle to lift the old bridge safely onto a low loader and transport it to a specialist firm for grit blasting, followed by a sensitive and detailed restoration of the elegant Victorian structure.
Combining old with new
Tania Snelgrove, our project manager, said: “It was fantastic to see so many local residents out to watch the nail-biting moment when we craned the newly-restored bridge back into position. It was a real boost to the hardworking team to receive a spontaneous round of applause!
“The old bridge was badly corroded, and our engineers rose to the challenge of providing a sympathetic restoration which could carry modern loadings. The original steel structure has largely been retained so the weathering is clearly visible, and unique historical features, which were too badly rusted, have been replicated.
“The structural elements are all painted black, as in the original colour scheme, including the new ‘U' frames which strengthen the bridge. The new mesh on the parapets is the same woven mesh used at the Eden Project and is so light that it appears to vanish when viewed from a distance, allowing the structure to appear very much as it did over a hundred years ago.”