19/01/2018 - Permalink

Closed footbridge at Severn Valley Railway Station, Bridgnorth – work to start Monday 22 January 2018

Related topics: Highways, transport and environmental maintenance

Bridgnorth Severn Valley Railway (SVR) Station Footbridge was closed to pedestrians on the afternoon of Saturday 6 January 2018 following concerns regarding safety. Staff from the SVR station notified police immediately when they noted that the end of the footbridge, on the station side, had lifted up significantly and appeared to be hanging dangerously in mid-air.  SVR staff and the police deemed the bridge to be unsafe and closed it for safety reasons.

Since then council engineers, supported by their term consultant and contractor, have carried out a detailed inspection to ascertain the reasons for the failure and come up with a solution to rectify the damage.

Gurnek Singh, Shropshire Council’s interim bridges and structures manager, said:-

“The holding down bolt anchorages to the west end bearing supports have completely failed. The exact cause of failure is still largely unknown, and engineers have been looking at as-built records and will be undertaking further analysis work, modelling and calculations to try to determine the cause of the failure.

“The eight holding down bolts fix the deck walkway in position and prevent it from moving excessively under live pedestrian loading. However, engineers looking at the mode of failure believe the bolt failure has been caused by a combination of salt laden de-icing salts, which have penetrated onto the tops of the bank supports and ‘eaten’ away at the high tensile steel bolts; cyclic fatigue failure due to pedestrian live loading; and contraction of the main cables and lattice steelwork caused by the recent prolonged cold temperatures. Engineers also suspect the problem has been ongoing for a number of years, but has remained hidden from view during routine bridge inspections due to the design detailing.”

Shropshire Council’s term maintenance contractor will commence works on Monday 22 January 2018 to install a temporary repair, which will allow the footbridge to be re-opened before the start of the school half-term week (19 – 23 February). The footbridge will remain open during the busy spring and summer months, causing minimal disruption to the SVR tourist attraction and surrounding businesses.

It is planned that the council’s new term maintenance contractor, Kier, will return in late October/ early November 2018 to install the permanent repairs. Engineers will be working up an improved permanent solution to replace the holding down anchorage systems and tighten up the tension in the cables to the west tower, which have slackened following the failure of the holding down bolts.

Engineers will continue to monitor the footbridge on a regular frequency to ensure it remains structurally safe in the intervening period and until the permanent repairs are carried out.

Steve Brown, Shropshire Council’s highways, transport and environmental maintenance manager, said:-

“Engineers from the council and its consultant WSP who have been assessing the damage and reviewing historical records, and have confirmed that it is a lot worse than first envisaged. Works to design a permanent repair will also be a lot more complex and therefore engineers have worked up a ‘quick-fix’ solution to enable the footbridge to be re-opened sooner to avoid major disruption to members of the public and tourist visiting the SVR.

“The footbridge is also a vital link between the SVR station and the surrounding facilities and businesses in the town centre. A permanent solution will be drawn up in the interim period, with works being planned for later in the year to avoid the peak tourism season.”