Bridge to the future
By Lindsay Gale10 April 2008
For the last 46 years, a 14 tonne, 20 m (66 ft) long and 5 m (16.5 ft) wide footbridge has been used to provide access from one side of the UK’s National Physical Laboratory site to the other.
Site redevelopment work has now made the structure redundant, but rather than just demolish it and dispose of the resulting scrap metal for recycling, it was decided to ‘recycle’ the bridge in one piece on the NPL site.
The bridge has been moved to a new site and will be used to demonstrate a range of techniques for monitoring structures. This will form part of a UK government project aimed at encouraging UK industry and UK infrastructure to use monitoring to maximise the useful life of civil engineering structures as well as minimising maintenance costs.
Over the course of the three year project, the bridge will be loaded until it cracks, then repaired using new composite repair methods and then retested.
The bridge move was handled by Burton Smith in conjunction with Beck and Pollitzer, with essential co-operation from LGC. Once freed, the bridge was lifted by a 250 tonne crane onto a trailer and then transported the quarter of a mile to its new location, a move that took an hour. It was then lifted again by the crane and positioned in its new location.