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History in the remaking

Two contrasting bridges received accolades recently at the ICE in the Historic Bridge Awards 1999.

ICE's President Professor George Fleming presented the prizes for work on historic bridges which range in function from lightly trafficked historic monuments to hard working essential elements of Britain's road, rail, waterway and aqueduct infrastructure.

The object of the scheme, run by the ICE's Panel for Historical Engineering Works, is 'to recognise and encourage excellence and innovation' in bridge repair, renovation and reconstruction.

Awards were presented to Town Bridge in Norwich and Iron Bridge in Stratfield Saye, Hampshire.

Commendations went to Chainbridge in Usk, Underbridge in Irlam, Horkstow Suspension Bridge in North Linconshire, Radcot Bridge in Oxfordshire and River Lune Bridge at Thirlmere Aqueduct.

Sponsors of the Awards are British Waterways, CSS, English Heritage, Railtrack and PHEW.

The judging panel chaired by Professor Roland Paxton, chair of Panel for Historic Engineering Works, included Terry Girdler, chief structural engineer for English Heritage, Andrew Leadbeater, former chair of CSS Bridges Group and NCE editor emeritus Mike Winney.

AWARD: Town Bridge, Northwich

The judges were particularly impressed with this joint winner because the integrity of this elegant and hardworking bridge was not compromised during the major restoration work.

Town Bridge failed its 40t highway loading when Parkman assessed it in 1993. A comprehensive refurbishment followed. The ú1.3M contract let in February 1998 to Kvaerner Construction was jointly funded by British Waterways and Cheshire County Council. Splitting the 300t superstructure from the 200t of pontoon and substructure, the contractor brought in Europe's largest mobile crane to lift the bridge onto an adjacent plot of land where a comprehensive refurbishment was carried out.

AWARD: The Iron Bridge, Stratfield Saye, Hampshire

This meticulous restoration from a state of dereliction delighted the judges. Intrinsic value has been placed before cost and effort by all those involved in the superb restoration following near collapse of the 197 year old Iron Bridge on the Wellington Estate.

Restoration of the 40ft span structure involved careful dismantling of almost the entire southern section. Attention to detail throughout the ú300,000 ($480,000) project enabled the timber decked bridge to be reinstated using most of the original materials and to function almost exactly as it did when built nearly two centuries ago.

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