Bridge replacement still on track for Easter despite piling delays

Photo of piling work taking place on the north-east corner of the bridge.

The project to dismantle the narrow railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane and replace it with a much wider concrete structure is still on track to meet the looming deadline of a programmed nine-day closure of the railway line over Easter, according to Network Rail.

Piling work to create 24-metre deep foundations to support the four corners of the replacement bridge has been going on since 4th November but has encountered delays due to “unforeseen ground conditions”.

The piling was originally due to start in early October 2019 and take three months but will now not be completed until the second week of February.

In order to safely complete the piling on the north-east corner, it was deemed necessary to close the southern end of Station Road for two weeks in January. The closure was originally planned to start on 6th January but was postponed to 13th January. As we went to press, it was announced that the closure would continue into a third week.

In parallel with the piling work, construction of the new bridge has continued within the Alun Griffiths site compound within the Horizon 38 business park (see photo below).

The bridge is being cast in three sections, (north abutment, south abutment and deck) each requiring a non-stop pour of concrete over many hours. The pour for the north abutment took place on 21st January, requiring 300 cubic metres of concrete, brought to the site in 27 deliveries. Pouring of the south abutment and deck are scheduled to take place in February (read more below).

Once completed, a ‘curing’ period of up to four weeks is required for the bridge to achieve full strength.

The 4,500 tonne bridge is currently scheduled to be manoeuvred into position, after the old bridge has been demolished, in the early hours of 15th April. This will be achieved using a 176-axle self-propelled modular transport unit.

The nine-day railway blockade is due to start on 11th April, with Network Rail scheduled to make a final ‘go, no go’ decision four weeks earlier.

Ahead of this, it is anticipated that Gipsy Patch Lane will be closed to all traffic at the railway bridge from 6th March, for a duration of eight months. The period after the bridge installation is required for lowering the road surface and other highway works.

Network Rail says it hopes to be able to reopen a route under the bridge, for pedestrians and cyclists only, six to eight weeks after the end of the railway blockade.

A shuttlebus service will operate for the period of time when the bridge is closed to pedestrians. This will operate a service from one side of the bridge to the other, using the shortest road route, without additional stops in between.

Photo of the replacement bridge under construction in the Alun Griffiths site compound.

Photos – Top: Piling work on the north-east corner. Above: Aerial view (looking north-west) of the new bridge under construction in the Alun Griffiths site compound. The Gipsy Patch Lane railway crossing (to where it will eventually be moved) is at the mid-point of the right edge of the photo.

The new bridge is 41.5m long, 27.6m wide, 6.4m high and will weigh 4,500 tonnes when complete.

View this photo in hi-resolution on Google Photos

Status report (24th January 2020)

Bridge build

The bridge is being built within the compound, ready to be moved into place. The steel reinforcement has continued on both the north and south abutments, the north abutment has been poured, the pour of the south abutment is scheduled for early February with the deck to follow at the end of February. This will complete the bridge build within the compound.


Sheet Piling – All of phase one sheet piling was complete before Christmas and phase two sheet piling works are due for completion early February.

Bored Piling – The south-west corner was completed prior to Christmas; the south-east was completed last week and the north-east corner is due for completion this week. The north west will take two weeks from next week.

Utility works

We are meeting with utilities on a regular basis to plan for the forthcoming works. Wales & West have been working to complete works on the west side of the bridge. Further utility diversion works are scheduled for March with WPD, BT and Bristol Water.

More information and related links:

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on pages 12 & 13). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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