COMPLEX WORK to renovate Ironbridge's 176 year old 'smaller brother' got under way in Shropshire this week with engineers starting assembly of a 68m long temporary steel 'overbridge'.
The lattice girder structure is being constructed 3m above the existing Coalport Bridge to allow access to its five parallel cast iron arches without imposing major loads.
Mabey Support Systems is assembling the temporary structure which will be launched from either side of the Severn river gorge in mid-June.
Scaffolding and work platforms will then be hung off it by main contractor Dew Construction.
Cast ironwork will be strengthened with bonded steel plates under a scheme developed by consultant Gifford & Partners and joint clients Telford & Wrekin District Council and Shropshire County Council.
Shropshire principal bridge senior structural engineer John Williams told NCE the work is complex because it is in an environmentally sensitive site.
The bridge was built in 1818 and is itself grade two listed and a scheduled ancient monument, as well as part of a world heritage site.
The work is needed to allow a 2t weight limit to be lifted. Work is scheduled for completion in November.