Another milestone in the restoration of the Cotswold Canals was reached on Friday 5th October, with the opening of a brand new swing bridge at Chestnut Lane, Stroud.
The bridge was designed and constructed by Leicestershire-based Galliford-Try.
The £300,000 structure is capable of carrying the heaviest vehicles on the road and is the biggest swing bridge to be installed as part of the canal project.
The ribbon-cutting was performed by Cllr Geoff Wheeler, Leader of Stroud District Council, assisted by Cllr Roger Sanders, the council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, pictured here together with Galliford-Try’s Senior Engineer Richard Scott.
Cllr Wheeler commented… “This opening underlines the tremendous progress we are making on regenerating the canal.
First car across
As soon as the bridge was swung into position, the first car to across was driven by Janet Blake, co-owner of Cristie Electronics, one of the businesses most affected while the crossing was closed for 6 months.
Richard Scott said… "A project with such heritage behind it has been fascinating to work on.
"The need to incorporate modern day codes and standards into historic structures is an example of the many engineering challenges we have solved by working closely with our client Stroud District Council.
"Taken with the support from the local community, this has made it a very satisfying project.”
21st century standards
The bridge is built to 21st century standards, but looks very much like the original Stroudwater Navigation swing bridges. It is operated by an electro-hydraulic system, using the Canal & River Trust’s ‘Watermate’ key normally carried by boaters.
Since starting work on the canal project, Stroud District Council has now opened up 4km of canal. Another 630m will be added as soon as the two locks at Dudbridge are completed next summer.