Since 1997 the Company has retained Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) as its engineering consultants and professional advisers on Bridge matters. By 2005 it was becoming clear from OCC's programmed Bridge inspections that Whitchurch Bridge, built in 1902, was coming to the end of its useful life and that reconstruction would be necessary by 2015. Initial discussions with South Oxfordshire District Council, as Planning Authority, indicated that the reconstruction of the Bridge, as a Grade II listed structure, would have to be carried out in a manner that retained its key visual characteristics and should preferably involve no demolition works. These requirements were potentially in conflict with the engineering requirement to ensure that the reconstructed Bridge would comply with modern safety and structural standards.
OCC procured architectural design from Jacobs and a design was produced which in the view of OCC and the Company would satisfy both the Planning and engineering requirements.
In May 2011 Planning Applications were submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) and West Berkshire Council WBC). Decision Notices granting Planning Permission were issued on 7th March 2012 (WBC) and 31st May (SODC).
After the granting of Planning Permission Atkins UK was appointed to carry out detalied engineering design and the preparation of tender documentation. This was completed in January 2013. The tender and contract model was drawn up 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.
Six contractors with experience in building metal bridges over water were invited to bid. Their bid documentation was evaluated in accordance with the NEC3 framework: the winner was Balfour Beatty, who were formally appointed as main contractor in May 2013.
The General Arrangement of the Bridge before reconstruction is here
The General Arrangement of the Bridge after reconstruction is here.
|29th July 2013||Work on site commences with the construction of the Contractors' compound on Pangbourne River Meadow|
|3rd October 2013||Bridge closed to road traffic|
|2nd November 2013||River below Bridge closed to river traffic|
|6th January 2014||Environment Agency issue Strong Stream Warning for the River Thames at Pangbourne, causing the Contractor to suspend all work on and above the river|
|17th March 2014||Environment Agency withdraw Strong Stream Warning. Contractor remobilises and recommences work on and above the river|
|1st April 2014||River below Bridge reopened to river traffic|
|19th September 2014||Bridge reopened to road traffic|
Local resident and video producer Nick Brazil was asked by the Company to record the progress of the reconstruction works. His videos provide the definitive story of the project.
Stage 1 - 1 August to 3 October 2013
Stage 2 - October 2013
Stage 3 - November and early December 2013
Stage 4 - Lifting off side girders December 2013
Stage 5 - Floods 2014
Stage 6 - Side girders leave by road transport March 2014
Stage 7 - Lifting off last side girders April 2014
Stage 8 - Piling operations at southern abutment April 2014
Stage 9 - Piling operations May 2014
Stage 10 - Night Working 19th and 20th May
Stage 11 - Pile concrete pouring at the southern abutment 21st May
Stage 12 - Piling in mid river 22nd May
Stage 13 - Installing the piers 10th -16th June
Stage 14 - Delivery of girders 10th -11th June
Stage 15 - Lifting and placement of long northern span girders 13th - 15th June
Stage 16 - Lifting and placement of mid section girders 16th June
Stage 17 - River banks are joined once more 23rd June
Stage 18 - Return of the lattice girders 26th June
Stage 19 - First two lattice girders back in place 2nd - 3rd July
Stage 20 - Last six lattice girders back in place 7th - 9th July
Stage 21 - Concreting the deck 17th July
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.
Planning Permissions (revised 26th April 2013)
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.
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