Summer opening date for Merrywalks Bridge

Press Release from Gloucestershire County Council 21.04.11

Stroud's new Merrywalks Bridge should be opened by mid-June.

The £1.8million project has been fraught with setbacks since the start, but contractors are now hopeful that the bridge, over the A46, will be finished in time for the summer.

The bridge, which is part of the Cotswold Canals Restoration Project, was originally scheduled to open in November 2010, but problems beyond council control have delayed the opening.

The delays, which have not incurred any extra cost for the council, have happened because:

  • The site is very tight and has limited room making it difficult for the various trades and activities to progress at the same time
     
  • Slad Brook caused problems during heavy rain causing the site to become flooded on several occasions. The contractor has had to carryout substantial temporary works to deal with the flow of water through the site
     
  • The bad weather throughout November and December meant the site had to be closed down a week earlier than anticipated for the Christmas break due to snow lying on the ground
     
  • During the cold spell certain activities had to stop for the safety of workers, particularly those carried out at height on scaffolding. Additionally, the cold hindered concreting works. Even the suppliers were affected and special measures such as heaters and frost blankets had to be used to progress the works in the sub zero temperatures
     
  • Additional unexpected excavation had to be done at the base of the bridge
     
  • Unexpected complications with some utilities were encountered during the works
     
  • Additional works have also been included in the contract so that the works will link into future Cotswold Canal restoration works. These include an extension to the western towpath and additional support to an embankment on the northwest edge of the site

Nigel Edgeworth, Project Manager, said: "It's a shame that the completion of the works has been delayed. From day one, we have worked closely with the contractor Carillion Civil Engineering and other agencies involved in order to complete the work as soon as possible. The scheme has now reached the stage where you can begin to see what the bridge is going to look like and I'm sure the wait will be well worth it."

Despite the delays, the Wallbridge diversion has worked well from the day of opening.

Once the new bridge is opened this summer, Gloucestershire County Council will be monitoring how traffic flows around the town centre to work out if the Wallbridge diversion should stay open as it has worked so well.

Consideration will then be given to keeping Wallbridge open one way out of town with facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.

A public consultation would then be carried out to find out what the Stroud community thinks of the proposal.

For further details on the scheme, visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/merrywalks.