A 60m long steel bridge ‘superstructure’ destined to span the River Avon at the Bath Quays site began its journey from Belgium to Bath at the weekend.
The prefabricated Bath Quays Bridge commissioned by Bath & North East Somerset Council is being brought to the city in four parts each on its own articulated vehicle, the first two of which will arrive tomorrow, Tuesday 12th May.
The vehicles will travel via the Zeebrugge-Tilbury ferry to reach the UK and the further two parts of the bridge will arrive using the same route on 19th May, with police escort due to the width of the vehicles.
The bridge is the first new crossing point over the River Avon in 100 years and will provide a new route for pedestrians and cyclists, an alternative crossing point to Midland Bridge and Churchill Bridge and will connect the development sites of Bath Quays North and South.
The bridge has been made by Victor Buyck, a Belgian steelwork fabricator who will also install it during the construction phase of Bath Quays later this year.
The articulated vehicles left Belgium on Sunday 10th May and once in the UK will travel along the M25/M5A4174/A4/A36 to reach Bath before crossing the River Avon at Churchill Bridge, then travel along Broad Quay, Ambury and Corn St.
On arrival at Bath Quays, each part of the bridge will be placed on temporary supports before the four parts are welded together over a period of several weeks.
They will remain there until the foundations have been completed and the bridge can be lifted into position.
Even though traffic levels are expected to be light, the vehicle movements within Bath are being timed to avoid peak hours.
Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Housing, Planning and Economic Development, said: “The arrival of this remarkable bridge is another step forward in the regeneration of Bath Quays as a vibrant commercial quarter within our city to stimulate economic growth.
“The design and fabrication of the bridge is quite fascinating and I’m looking forward to seeing it help pedestrians and cyclists reach their destinations more easily.
“During the current Covid-19 crisis we have continued to make progress at the site under strict social distancing rules to help our future prosperity and contribute positively to Bath’s recovery when we all emerge from the current measures.
“This will be needed to help the local economy mitigate the impact of coronavirus as well as encourage more walking and cycling.”
The bridge design was selected via an international design competition commissioned by the council in 2015, with six short-listed designs exhibited to and voted on by the public.
Following the exhibition, the panel evaluated the designs and selected Paris based engineering and architectural consultancy Marc Mimram’s ‘Between History and Modernity’ as the winning design.