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River Witham Bridge in Lincoln is a Network Rail owned bridge carrying the Nottingham to Barnetby railway line over the river, two public roads and a footpath.
The Fowler engineered bridge was Grade II Listed in 1999 in recognition of the historical significance of the river span, which was constructed in 1848 and comprises very rare wrought iron tubular edge girders patented by the engineer William Fairburn. Only three examples of this bridge type are believed to remain.
Unfortunately the last inspection and assessment of the bridge highlighted that all four spans were in a very poor condition and had inadequate assessed capacity for current rail traffic. Therefore, to ensure the adequacy of the bridge for heavy freight traffic for the next 120 years, listed building consent was sought and secured for its complete re-construction. The re-construction was accomplished in a 10 day blockade in August 2017.
Standard and elongated 'U' decks were installed with a very large 1200t mobile crane, but the most important part of this project was to preserve and restore the historic tubular edge girders and many of the original wrought iron cross girders. The restored elements were successfully re-installed underneath the new bridge deck in December 2017.
The talk will concentrate on the historical significance, asset management, reconstruction and restoration of this interesting bridge.