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On 13th March the Company issued a Statement announcing that the re-opening of the Bridge would be delayed until September 2014. This is due to issues to do with the demolition of the old Bridge (see FAQ 2.9), and the adverse river conditions December 2013 - March 2014 (see FAQ 2.10). Key dates are:
0700 hrs Tuesday 6 May to 0700 hrs Thursday 8th May and 0700 Tuesday 13 May to 0700 hrs Thursday 15th May 2014
September 2014 - a more precise date will be announced later
Bridge re-opens for all road traffic, and temporary footbridge closes.
October 2014 - a more precise date will be announced later
All works completed, contractor compounds removed, ground reinstated and reseeded. All reinstatement works will be managed until established to the satisfaction of the landowner.
Marine services are provided by Red7Marine of Colchester, demolition works by Matthews Ltd of Crawley, off-site fabrication of new steelwork by Mabey Bridge of Chepstow, and ongoing archaeological recording and investigation by Oxford Archaeology of Oxford.
Next jobs are shown on the Home page, jobs for next few weeks include:
All 8 side girders refurbished at Coastground Ltd in Great Yarmouth
After completion of piling for southern abutment, piling rig transferred to pontoon ready for main piling between piers in the river
Complete reconstruction of southern abutment including new brickwork, plinth and bearings
Reconstruction of northern abutment including new brickwork, plinth and bearings
Main piling by Foundation Piling Ltd of Chesham - 6 piles each 30m deep, 900mm wide, 2 at each of the 3 piers.
All works are carried out in accordance with approved method statements and risk assessments.
a time-lapse photographic record of the works for the last month is here (all pictures, including those now offline, will be permanently stored for record purposes).
photographs of the works are here
The following documents give detailed information about various aspects of the reconstruction work: all are subject to amendment.
Details of Temporary Footbridge (updated 2nd September 2013)
Construction Sequence (the actual construction sequence to be used by Balfour Beatty may vary in detail)
Construction Management Plan (as submitted with the Planning Applications. The actual construction method to be used by Balfour Beatty will differ from this: the most significant difference is that the refurbishment of the side girders will be carried out off-site and not on the river meadow).
Revised 142 Bus Service Timetable (final version)
Ongoing Traffic Survey - we are co-operating with a University of the West of England research project looking at how and why people travel and the effect that disruption has on their daily lives - more details at www.disruptionproject.net (you may get a false virus warning message if you use AVG). Bridge users may participate in their online survey.
The Reconstruction of Whitchurch Bridge
- Background Notes
(updated 18th March 2014)
Whitchurch Bridge, built in 1902, has come to the end of its useful life and is currently being reconstructed. The Company intends to retain the existing appearance of the Bridge. The reconstruction will involve the installation of new piers (ie the vertical columns secured in the river bed) supporting new, load-bearing longitudinal girders under the roadway. The existing piers will remain in place but become non-loadbearing, and the existing pier capitals and latticework side girders will be taken away for refurbishment and then put back as key visual elements. The width of the Bridge will not be increased, and the headroom and width of the four river channels will not be reduced.
Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) is managing the reconstruction project on behalf of the Company. Architectural design was undertaken by Jacobs, with detailed engineering design and tender documentation delivered by Atkins UK. The main contractor is Balfour Beatty - the separate identity of Birse Civils Ltd, the division of the Balfour Beatty group to which the contract was awarded, is being phased out. Contract supervision on behalf of the Company is by Atkins UK.
The reconstruction contract is being managed within the framework of the "NEC Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC), 3rd edition (June 2005), Option C - Target Contract with Activity Schedule". Guidance Notes on the NEC3 model are available here.
In accordance with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 a CDM Co-ordinator has been appointed who is advising the Company (as Employer) on all aspects of its responsibilities for health and safety risk management matters.
When the contract was awarded in May 2013 the total cost of the reconstruction Project was estimated at £4.3 million including VAT: this includes design and other costs incurred before contract award, and design, project managent and contract supervison costs during the contract. Costs have increased significantly since January 2014 because of the delay to the Project caused by the exceptional adverse river conditions January - March 2014.
The works, being a major reconstruction of the Bridge, will have to comply with the current mandatory European Structural Design Codes (Eurocodes). Although this means that the reconstructed Bridge will be strong enough for 44 tonnes vehicles, the Company is at one with local residents in wishing to retain a 7.5 tonne weight restriction on the Bridge after it has been reconstructed, and has agreed with OCC (as Highways authority) that an enforceable 7.5 tonnes mgw weight limit can be retained on the Bridge following its reconstruction.
Balfour Beatty, as main contractor, is responsible for delivering the project. The Whitchurch Bridge Company and Balfour Beatty are committed to completing the works as soon as possible, and the Company's project management team will continue to work collaboratively with Balfour Beatty to evaluate all opportunities for saving time: for example, detailed design changes to the deck and the deck formwork may enable the deck concrete pouring to be completed more quickly. Other value engineering opportunities have been identified and those that can offer gains are being developed.
In addition, the project plan has been changed so that work around the navigation channel (the second span from the Whitchurch end) is done first. Detailed plans have been drawn up by Balfour Beatty to enable the works to continue beyond 31st March (when the navigation channel is due to re-open) and to be completed as soon as possible whilst satisfying the Environment Agency on river navigation needs.
There will be some weekend and night working, but as agreed with the local Planning authorities noisy and other environmenatlly intrusive activities will not be undertaken at these times.
Planning Permission for the reconstruction of Whitchurch Bridge was resolved to be granted by South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) on 16th November 2011, and by West Berkshire Council (WBC) on 7th December 2011.
A S106 Planning Agreement has been completed with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) formalising the Company's undertaking to pay for necessary changes to the route 142 bus service which passes over the Bridge. SODC issued its Decision Notices on 31st May 2012.
A S106 Planning Agreement has been completed with West Berkshire Council (WBC) formalising the Company's undertaking to pay for necessary adjustments to the A329/B4009 traffic lights in Streatley to help deal with the increased traffic flows from diverted traffic, and also for other necessary measures such as local parking restrictions. West Berkshire Council issued its Decision Notices on 7th March 2012.
Planning Conditions - Traffic Survey
The Company carried out a traffic survey in March 2013 to fulfil a Planning condition from WBC - the survey Report is here.
Details of the Planning Application process which led up to the granting of Planning Permission are as follows:
1. Because of its location, the reconstruction of Whitchurch Bridge involves two Planning authorities, South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) and West Berkshire Council (WBC). SODC acts as "lead" Planning Authority. The Planning authorities will monitor the reconstruction work to ensure compliance with Planning requirements and conditions.
2. The Company appointed the Temple Group to manage its inputs to the Planning Application process, and Planning Applications were submitted to SODC and WBC on 3rd May 2011 as follows:
Planning and Listed Building Applications to SODC and WBC for the main works of reconstruction and alterations to the Bridge,
Planning Applications to SODC and WBC for the temporary footbridge to provide for continued access across the river during the reconstruction,
a Planning Application to WBC, copied for information to SODC, for the temporary construction compound on Pangbourne River Meadow,
written notification to SODC, copied to WBC for information, of proposed works to trees within the Whitchurch Conservation Area.
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