Heritage Works in Weymouth
When the instruction came through concerning damage caused by a lorry running under a bridge, we did not expect to be dealing with a piece of local rural industrial history. The bridge turned out to be between mill buildings on opposite sides of a steep lane on the edge of Weymouth. Whilst not especially beautiful these buildings are old and unique enough to be of significance to the local planners.
The repair of the bridge involved a number of technical and administrative processes. The bridge had to be designed to modern standards. This had an impact on the configuration as the previous design had ranch style railings which do not conform to current safety legislation. However the conservationists did not want to see the design as visually different. Safety legislation won the day and the horizontal rails were replaced with an oak palisade structure.
The Highways authority was involved over the road closure. In order to keep this to a minimum the bridge was in part pre-fabricated. The timber (European Oak) was sourced from a local timber importer and delivered to our yard in Shedfield near Fareham. Following a careful design template the superstructure was assembled into manhandleable units & transported carefully down to Weymouth
First the two RSJs were eased into position. Using just a few small chalk marks as reference points on the road the RSJs were slung from a telescopic arm and lifted into position and slid into their pockets formed in the brickwork. The stonework was built back up and the lime mortar covered to cure. A week later the timber units arrived with our team of joiners.
Minor adjustments were inevitable but essentially the bridge fitted together like a giant Meccano set.
Throughout the works we had to liaise with the locals, and maintained a safe passageway down the street at all times
And in the end the bridge was reinstated as good as new. Or should that be as good as 1890….?