Upgrade work completed on Loxwood Bridge.
Scaffolding shielding the construction work on the Loxwood Bridge over the Wey & Arun Canal on the B2133 Loxwood High Street has now been removed to reveal the new, but more traditional-looking brick and rail parapets that replace the previous steel barriers.
Following considerable negotiation with local residents, represented by Loxwood Parish Council and The Loxwood Society, as well as local authority Chichester District Council and highways authority West Sussex County Council, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust (WACT) worked to replace the motorway-style barrier with a more sympathetic solution, in keeping with the location and planning guidance.
Work by Sussex-based Concept Building Services to replace the 1.8m high galvanised steel railing and mesh fence, which was installed when the bridge was completed in 2009, started in April and was completed ahead of schedule on 1 June.
"The steel barrier has been replaced by a 1m high cast in situ concrete wall, that has been faced with brickwork, and topped by a single rail to raise the height to 1.4m," says WACT chief engineer John Talbot. "The result is strong enough to provide containment and protection for users of the bridleway but looks more in keeping with the canal setting and allows pedestrians a clearer glimpse of the canal too."
Although the work has been completed ahead of time, the construction process was not straightforward. "Retrofitting the wall onto the bridge meant that holes for dowel bars had to be drilled into the existing steel reinforced concrete bridge deck," says John. "Concept planned to scan the deck to locate the steel reinforcement and drill the holes for the dowels around these. Unfortunately the scanner could only penetrate 50mm which wasn't enough to locate the reinforcement and this added five days to the time take to drill the dowel holes."
Len Milsom on behalf of Loxwood Society said "The Loxwood Society and the Canal Trust have been working hard over the last three and a half years to raise sufficient funds to replace the bridge parapets. We are delighted that now the appearance of the bridge is more in keeping with its local environment and other local river and canal structures. We would like to thank all those people who have supported us in this effort."
Further information and photographs in the form of JPEG files can be obtained from the Wey & Arun Trust's Public Relations Officer: Sally Schupke (01483 560543): email: email@example.com
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust
The 23-mile Wey & Arun Canal was built between 1813 and 1816 to link the Rivers Wey and Arun, thus forming an inland barge route between London and the south coast in order to provide a safe inland route for military supplies to the fleet in Portsmouth. However, after the Napoleonic Wars, it became a largely agricultural canal, carrying goods including coal, chalk, lime and farm produce. The coming of the railways finally sealed the canal's fate, the waterway being abandoned in 1871.
Since 1971, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, a registered charity, has been working to re-open navigation along the waterway and, once fully restored, to again link Littlehampton on the south coast with the River Thames via the River Wey.