The rail crash at Potters Bar six months ago, as well as causing loss of life, also damaged the plate girder spans of the bridge over the road adjacent to the station. The removal of the damaged spans and the installation of the replacement, last weekend, was a masterpiece of engineering management and was completed well within the 6am deadline on Monday 18 November.
The contractors and all concerned are to be congratulated on the expediency of the operation. As a local resident I watched the process with keen professional interest.
During the 45 years I have lived in Potters Bar I have always admired the clean simplicity of the elevation of the 1950's welded plate girders of the railway bridge. Yet after fifty years of 'progress' in steel bridge design what do we now have? The new replacement bridge shows an elevation which is cluttered with stiffeners, bolt heads and brackets.
Surely it would not have been beyond the wit of presentday bridge engineers to have produced an elevation which is at least in keeping with the elevations of the 1950's spans which were undamaged and still remain. The new bridge has an elevation which is visually reminiscent of the dark ages of steel bridge design.
There seems to have been no concern about overall aesthetic aspects of the spans over the roadway. So much for civil and structural engineers being concerned about the environment!
Colin Davies (F), 59 Heath Road, Potters Bar, Herts, EN6 1LR