2021.09.12 bowater, stroud footbridge repairs

GVCV Task Report

Bowater – 12 Oct 21

This task was for Gloucestershire County Council’s Access Team, restoring a 8m steel and wood footbridge over a stream at Bowater (Stroud). The footbridge (point A on the map below) is much used by walkers, especially in the winter when it can become impossible to ford the stream.

 

Alan Bentley of the Access Team supported the task with a preparatory visit on Monday 6 Sep, spending about an hour with the group at the start of the session on Sunday 12 Sep and by providing materials.

The group parked along Bowbridge Lane whilst tools and Candy’s truck were bought closer to the work site via a gate at the end of Gunhouse Lane. Eight members attended.

The group successfully achieved the following:

– Path clearance to the bridge for access.

– Removal and replacement of the bridge deck, adding recycled plastic runners underneath the new deck to improve expected life.

– Replacement of kick boards.

– Replacement of half of the bridge rails.

This left the bridge in a usable state and it should remain so for several years.

Problems with materials (rails too short for one section of the bridge, grip strip too long for the deck without appropriate tools and PPE to cut it) prevented full completion, however these tasks are now on a slightly shorter ‘to-do’ list for the Access Team’s contractors to complete. The decision was made half-way through the day not to start any work on a second nearby bridge as it was important not to leave this in an un-usable condition.

This was an unfamiliar task for the group:

– New skills were learnt, with overall efficiency improving from amateur (but keen) to ‘a bit better’ through the day.

– Attention was needed through the day to ensure that all members had work that they were able to progress.

– The variety from more familiar tasks was a positive and getting the bridge to a much improved state gave a sense of achievement.

Before:

 

Overgrown paths before and after:

 

Teamwork fitting plastic runners and deck boards:

7/8 of the team on the completed bridge: Mel, Mark, Vanessa, Trina, Josephine, Dave and Anthony

 

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