Workmen battled through coldest spring since 1963

S47508H13 The harsh winter and cold spring affected work on the concrete
S47508H13 The harsh winter and cold spring affected work on the concrete

THE men who built Adur Ferry Bridge have been praised for their efforts, working through a harsh winter and the UK’s coldest spring since 1963.

Osborne project manager Paul Reader said: “The team has done an excellent job to create a structure that will stand the test of time.

“It is a challenging building a bridge in an estuary, working through the winter with seven-metre tidal movement each day.”

He said the cold weather in March had come just at the point they were trying to set the concrete and the icy winds whipping over the top and bottom of the bridge had created a lot of problems.

Mr Reader revealed the old footbridge had been in a worse state than they had first realised.

“The old bridge came down in only half the time we thought. It was not in a safe state. A lot of the foundations in the bed of the river had moved over time.”

The new bridge is lit, which is much improved on the old bridge, and there are lights built into the end rails.

Opening and closing the swing bridge is a ten-minute process, operated by remote control.

Mr Reader said: “The old bridge was difficult to open, it was almost an all-day thing. With this, if you get stopped, it would only be about ten minutes. Watching it would almost be an event.”

West Sussex County Council project manager Tony Bathmaker explained there had been different choices for the opening mechanism, and all of those were discussed early in the process.

“It was generally felt that this swing bridge would meet the needs of this bridge,” he added. “It blends in very well in the maritime area where it is.”

He admitted there had been delays caused by weather and the glass contractor going bust, but said the real measurement was seeing people using the bridge.

“That is what we came to build it for,” he added. “The satisfaction is seeing people once again being able to do that.”

Over the next 12 months, there would be minor works to carry out, which was usual for a large building project, but there were no plans to close the bridge.