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Water under the Bridge

An Onlooker's Report

The phrase 'Water under the Bridge' is often used as a way of asserting that a matter has… ‘Passed out of current consciousness… become a thing of the past’

The absolute opposite applies however when the phrase is used to describe this week’s big step forward in the restoration of the Cotswold Canals.

As Gloucestershire County Council’s Project Manager Nigel Edgeworth recently promised,
‘a major milestone will be achieved’.

That milestone was reached on Monday with the removal of the huge steel tube that carried Slad Brook’s water away from the bridge construction site.

The tube that became known as ‘the water flume’ was craned delicately off its steel support stanchions and loaded directly onto a waiting low-loader.

An excavator then began to remove the tube’s steel stanchions.

Magical Moment

It was after the tube’s removal, and during the latter stages of the preparations for the channel filling, that a magical human / amphibian moment occurred.

The excavator driver was concentrating on removal of rocks and earth from the base of one of the supports when Carillion plc. employee Bob Downes (pictured right) directed a definite and determined STOP hand signal towards the excavator driver.

This unambiguous action was accompanied by Bob's equally unmistakeable, and very loud, call of ‘Whoa!

The excavator driver ceased all movement immediately and watched wide eyed as Bob ran forward and fell to his knees before the jaws of the machine.

Bob was seen to push his hands into the wet earth before cupping them together in order to carry something small & brown away from the grasping bucket of the excavator.

Bob had spotted that a tiny frog had come close to ‘death-by-digger’.

In the time honoured manner of a seasoned canal restorer Bob scooped up the hapless amphibian and relocated it out of harms way on another patch of damp earth close the canal.

This act of care and kindness towards a small cold blooded creature earned Bob a loud round of appreciative applause from the gathering of onlookers viewing from above.

G.C.C.’s Mark Collins commented “That was typical of Bob! He is one of the most reliable and experienced people on site. He really cares about everything he does.”

This act of kindness held proceeding up for but a short time before the waters of Slad Brook rose to create the long awaited watery enhancement to Wallbridge – The Gateway to Stroud.

We all look forward to the next ‘major milestones’… the opening of the carriageway to traffic and the passage of boats beneath! That’s when Stroud Brewery Bridge really will be open!

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