Telford Footbridge replacement

Year:December 2018

Duration:2 years 6 months

Cost: £10m

Country: Telford, UK

People

Linking local communities with the town centre

The Telford Central Footbridge replacement scheme was a £10m project funded by the Department for Transport, seeking to enhance accessibility to the Telford Central Station and the town centre.

The replacement footbridge would contribute to the regeneration of Telford Town Centre, providing an attractive gateway to the town while reducing the existing maintenance liabilities associated with the original footbridge.

The project was seeking to enhance the entrance to the town for commuters by constructing an eye-catching structure while also improving the accessibility with state-of-the-art features.

The project aspirations were to act as a catalyst for future regeneration and development in the area.

The Telford Central Footbridge scheme was exemplary in collaboration between Telford & Wrekin Council, Balfour Beatty, Jacobs and other key stakeholders.

The bridge was delivered and opened in time to celebrate Telford’s 50th birthday during 2018 and acted as a focal point for all the celebrations across the borough.

Project achievements and benefits

The project had a key driver from day one, which was to enhance the gateway to Telford and ensure that the journey from the train station to the town centre was as user-friendly as possible. The accessibility at the station has been greatly improved with the addition of new mechanical lifts replacing the old ramps, which were not in keeping with Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) regulations.

State-of-the-art lighting and more open spaces have given the bridge and footpaths a sense of welcoming and entice people in and out of Telford. The old footbridge was getting a reputation of being dark and uninviting, so the new bridge has given life to the area and created a fresh gateway to the town and has helped to link up the local communities on each side of the A442.

The bridge is also acting as a catalyst for further regeneration and development around the bridge and station area. Local businesses such as the Telford Shopping Centre and the International Centre are ecstatic with the access and welcome it as it now provides access to visitors coming to Telford. The scheme has seen the implementation of new cycle parking at the station and will increase the attractiveness to travel by rail and encourage walking or cycling to the station.

The project team were keen to engage with and involve the local community in the project, especially the younger generation.

Numerous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) events were held, including site visits with schools, colleges and universities. The project ran a bridge-building and bridge naming competition with all the local primary schools, with the winners receiving prizes and a chance to name the new footbridge.

The project delivered almost £2m of social value add (as measured by National TOMS) including providing apprentices, spending locally and employing locally.

How the work was done

The project was to create an eye-catching structure that would entice people to the town and offer the wow factor.

This was achieved using bespoke building materials including stretched fabric roofing and glass-reinforced plastic edges which enabled the roof to be shaped into unusual curved features and create an iconic structure.

The roof can be illuminated in any one of many LED colours to give a unique appearance. There’s also improved lighting and public spaces offering a more inviting thoroughfare for pedestrians.

The bespoke nature of the bridge design ensured that boundaries were pushed. The main bridge spans over 90m and ensuring this was buildable required a lot of hard work. Due to the large span and relative slenderness of the bridge, increased vibrations caused by natural frequencies was a potential issue. This was mitigated by commissioning of wind tunnel testing and tuned mass dampers in the roof space.

To ensure the bridge lifts went smoothly, the project commissioned a 4D synchro video model which was used to plan the road closures and bridge lifts to the finest of details. These models were also shared on the website so they could be viewed by members of the public. This led to a real sense of inclusion within the community as they were fully communicated on the plan.

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The project has been a triumph of civil engineering and has been conceived, designed, planned and actioned to the very highest standards of quality with no corners cut.

Member of the public

Fascinating facts

Almost 400 tonnes of structural steel was used on the project.

One of Europe’s biggest cranes was used on the project. The LG1750 has a 1,250-tonne real lift capacity.

Hundreds of people attended the site during the main bridge installation, with hundreds more logging into the live webcam to witness the mammoth lift.

People who made it happen

  • Client: Telford & Wrekin Council
  • Contractor: Balfour Beatty
  • Designer: Jacobs
  • Architect: Nicoll Russell Studios

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