Early bird worker first to use new Upper Mills Bridge
Upper Mills Bridge carried its first business traffic into the trading estate at Stonehouse on Friday 17th December. At 7.30am, an employee of Roots Systems found the way clear to cross the newly surfaced bridge.
Britannia Construction project manager Phil Wyatt explained that whilst he is pleased that the bridge deck has been completed on time and on budget, he looks forward to seeing a boat passing beneath the raised & realigned bridge.
This should occur soon after 10th January when dredging work is due to commence on this length of the Stroudwater Navigation. Phil’s keenness to witness the boat movement is partly based on his enjoyment of narrowboat holidays. He also has an uncle who lived on a motor and butty for many years.
Sub Zeros Temperatures Present a Challenge
Phil, who lives locally, went on to explain that the recent sub zero temperatures have been particularly challenging for the work force of over 25 people. “Concrete can be poured at 2 degrees centigrade on a rising thermometer and at 4 degrees on a falling thermometer.
We have had some cold days here lately. It was briefly minus ten on a morning recently. Nevertheless, we have managed to get the brick facings completed in the bridge arch.
We laid the first deck tarmac on Thursday. The top surface will be laid and rolled on Monday. We have done it in two strips to allow the bridge to be used. Monday should see the rails fitted to the parapets too.”
Phil was quick to praise his team.
“The team have been very good. As cold as it has been we have not lost any actual days working.
They have simply got on with the digging and preparatory work.
They will have deserved their Christmas break and then after that we shall be finishing the job off by casting the capping beams on the waters edge piling before the final green edge planting work”.
He went on to describe some brief but pleasant interruptions… “Local people have been reminiscing about carrying days on the canal.
The locals are obviously keen to see it all completed and back in action.”
The bottom picture was taken by Ken Bailey on 22nd December. It shows the newly cast concrete beams atop the piled edges, the absence of the temporary access road and the newly fitted railings on the bridge.