New lease of life for Worcester Foregate Street railway bridge
By: Robin Jones
Worcester Foregate Street bridge was officially reopened at 11am on Friday, February 22 by Network Rail and contractor J Murphy & Sons Limited.
Vital work to the historic bridge in the centre of Worcester has been completed by contractor J. Murphy & Sons Limited on behalf of Network Rail, the owner and maintainer of Britain’s rail infrastructure, and has restored the Grade-II listed structure to its former glory.
First built in 1860 and last replaced in 1906, the bridge which crosses over the A38, has deteriorated over the years and its overall condition meant it was placed on the Worcester City Council’s heritage ‘at risk’ register.
The work has achieved extensive repairs to the old heavy steels which make up the bridge, along with repairs to the fractured cast iron fascia and the replacement of the bridge’s drainage system.
Philip Hanson, Network Rail’s scheme project manager, said: “The Grade II-listed bridge has required extensive work to maintain its structural integrity and return it to its former glory. This has principally involved major steel girder repairs and work to the cast iron façades which will minimise the need for further intrusive maintenance and refurbishment for a number of years to come. It is now a familiar and historical landmark for which Worcester can truly be proud.”
Councillor David Wilkinson, Worcester City Council’s heritage champion, commented: “I have inspected the work which has been carried out to the bridge, and I am very impressed. The structural integrity of the bridge has been enhanced by the repairs to the steelwork, and the characteristic external cladding has been completely renovated, including conservation repairs and re-painting in its historic colours, which the city council’s conservation team has specified and overseen. I am optimistic that we can now remove the bridge from our Heritage at Risk Register.”
Tom Jackson, J Murphy & Sons Limited’s project manager, said: “The scope of the works proved to be significantly more detailed and wide ranging than previously thought, as after the grit blasting stage it became apparent the bridge was in a much worse condition. The collaborative working on the project between Murphy, Network Rail and the City Council enabled the development of value-adding synergies resulting in increased decision-making and de-risking of the relationships.”
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