Bridges over water are a critical component of any country’s infrastructure. They influence the environment and economy and form an important role in connecting communities, goods, and services.
As leading wet civil engineers, Land & Water has continued to deliver infrastructure projects throughout the UK this year, despite the current pandemic and increased health and safety measures. The company prides itself on having the specialist knowledge and equipment to work in areas with access constraints or sensitive habitats where a strong environmental discipline is required.
From undertaking what can essentially be described as “open heart surgery” to a partially collapsed three arch bridge spanning the River Wandle to a footbridge installation over the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, Land & Water has continued to trade strongly and deliver projects that will benefit the local community and environment.
The most high-risk test the Land & Water team faced this year was the demolition of Bishopsford Bridge in Mitcham, South London.
The project, which began in April and lasted three months, involved the Land & Water team carefully dismantling the partially collapsed, 200-year-old three arch bridge and adjoining footbridge, whilst maintaining the water flow of the River Wandle.
Land & Water worked successfully with engineers Tony Gee & Partners to design a solution that stabilised the central arch of the bridge by filling it with concrete, before demolishing the arches to each side and then removing the central arch, using long reach excavators. This prevented the unintentional collapse of the damaged structure, which could have resulted in flooding.
The already complex task was made even more challenging by the range of utilities which ran through the structure of the bridge, including gas pipes and broadband cabling. The team had to carefully extract each utility service and support them on a temporary gantry while the demolition work was in progress.
The Goodman’s Yard project, which is due to complete at the end of September on behalf of client Landsec, has seen the installation of a footbridge over The Worcester and Birmingham Canal. The bridge will connect student accommodation, a Sainsbury’s supermarket and Selly Oak Shopping Park to Bristol Road which runs alongside the Canal.
As the design and build contractor, Land & Water worked tirelessly to deliver the overall vision of the project, in collaboration with architects Piper Whitlock and consulting engineers Tony Gee & Partners.
The approach ramps caused various difficulties for the engineers during the on-site works. Land & Water worked closely with local engineering contractor, JOS Structures, to design a radical approach ramp. As part of this solution, over 1,000m3 of concrete was used to form the ramps and bridge approaches.
Land & Water is committed where possible to engage with local contractors and suppliers. The bridge itself was fabricated off-site by another local business, SHS Structures, before being lifted into place.
Land & Water’s Managing Director, Adrian Gascoyne, says: “We have all witnessed such unprecedented circumstances over the past couple of months with the Coronavirus pandemic but also the closing down of businesses, including many of our merchants.
“Despite this, Land & Water has successfully delivered a number of infrastructure projects across the UK with little disruption and we are now on track for a successful year.
“As a company we pride ourselves on being innovative and finding solutions to complex access problems which is why we are often the chosen contractor when it comes to constructing and installing bridges over water.”
Campbell Wharf Marina project
Within the past year, Land & Water was also instructed to install an innovative three-way footbridge at Campbell Wharf Marina in Milton Keynes, as part of Crest Nicholson’s new housing development.
This project, which took place over 45 weeks, was also a wider collaboration between the housebuilder and civil engineering firm which saw Land & Water develop the marina’s full design, including all service points, a car park and improved walkways and cycle paths as well as carrying out earthworks to form the marina basin and reinforcing concrete retaining walls.
The 35m long, three-span footbridge, fabricated by SH Structures, was installed to connect the housing development and marina with the Grand Union Canal.
The bridge, which is aligned with the marina entrance and crosses the waterway at right angles is extremely unique in its design made out of weathering steel with a laser cut steel balustrade system and featuring panels cut to resemble riverside reeds and grasses.
This is one of Land & Water’s most bespoke projects as the deck of the bridge also branches in two parts to form a Y-shape.
As part of its works with another housing developer, Berkeley Homes, Land & Water installed a footbridge over the River Thames to connect Ray Mill Island with the housebuilder’s development at Taplow in Berkshire. These works were carried out between June 2017 – January 2018.
The construction of the bridge from the land was not possible, due to the complex riverside location of the site, meaning the project team had to install an extensive amount of piled foundations whilst reinforcing concrete abutments to support a statement bridge.
This challenge was then accentuated by the need to complete one of the abutments entirely from the water requiring specialist equipment, including pontoons and cranes specifically designed for the task.
The 40-tonne bridge was then delivered in pieces and assembled a mile down river.
Kevin Kirkland says: “Land & Water has always prided itself on being an innovative contractor and finding solutions to complex access problems is a major reason why our customers come back to us time and time again.
“This project will always stand out in my memory. I will never forget floating a 40 ton, fully built bridge up the River Thames. Most of all though is the fact that this project possibly would never have happened if we hadn’t been able to find such a creative solution.”
Despite the most recent challenges faced by the Coronavirus pandemic, Land & Water continues to trade strongly, taking on landmark projects and continuing its ongoing investment into industry leading plant.
Its successful infrastructure and bridge works, which have taken place within the past year, is a great example of how the civil engineering firm works to overcome testing circumstances to deliver bespoke solutions to its clients.
About Land & Water
Land & Water is an award-winning inland waterway and coastal civil and environmental engineering company based in the UK. Throughout their 40-year history, their name has become synonymous with finding creative and effective solutions to complex challenges in the specialist environment where land and water meet. Often working in complex or sensitive habitats, their work is always completed with sympathy to the local surroundings, people and the environment.