Leading provider of highway and construction services, Ringway, has completed work on the replacement of Stile Farm Bridge, a road bridge over the Great Stour River near Chilham in Kent. Built in the 1920s, the bridge was in a severe state of disrepair resulting in weight restrictions of only three tonnes.
The new, more robust structure now has a 16-metre span and is constructed using pre-cast concrete, with pre-stressed steel-reinforced beams based on cast in-situ abutment, and enables the bridge to withstand heavier weight restrictions. As well as helping to ease the flow of traffic in the area, the bridge is also accessible for crossing pedestrians.
The River Great Stour provides excellent habitats for wetland plants, water fowl, amphibians and other aquatic wildlife and is a popular destination for fishermen and anglers looking to enjoy the natural environment. To protect fish-life during the spawning season in this renowned fishing river, Ringway installed a temporary crash deck, before demolishing the old bridge and cofferdams for the abutment construction. Ringway also constructed a footbridge on scaffolding to maintain pedestrian access across this fast-flowing river.
The lane’s narrow access via a level crossing restricted the size of plant and delivery lorries, necessitating a weekend track possession, which added to the complications of planning and coordination of the works.
“We are delighted to have completed this project and the team really embraced the construction of such an historic bridge,” says John Martin, Divisional Director, Ringway. “We have faced a number of challenges throughout the construction process due to the bridges age and access, but we have worked around these and are pleased to see the bridge back operation.” The complications included the diversion of high-pressure gas mains and telephone cables, reconstructing the roadway approaches, and re-profiling the river banks, where the need for anti-scour coir rolls became apparent after the river burst its banks due to heavy rains.