Kepax walking and cycling bridge

Kepax walking and cycling bridge

A new walking and cycling bridge across the River Severn in Worcester from Gheluvelt Park to the Kepax site in St John’s.

Background

Improving walking and cycling routes around the county is a priority for Worcestershire County Council and Worcester City Council.

The scheme to deliver a new walking and cycling bridge across the River Severn in Worcester was approved by the Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee on 28 September 2021.

About the bridge

The bridge will run from Gheluvelt Park to the east of the river to the Kepax site in St John’s, to the west.

The bridge will be a welcome addition to the popular riverside route. 

For the first time it will allow users to enjoy a figure-of-eight route along the River Severn:

  • from the very well used Diglis bridge in the south 
  • to the recently refurbished Sabrina Bridge near the city centre 
  • to this new bridge in the north (and back again)

Work is scheduled for completion towards the end of 2024, subject to no significant delays, such as flooding.

Latest updates

January 2024

Work has continued on both sides of the river, completing all reinforced concrete work to the foundations and bases to the abutments, piers, pylon base and back stay anchorage. With the use of three cranes, weighing in at 500t, 300t and 250t, the structural steel piers and pylon have been lifted and installed into place. 

Segments of the curved bridge deck have been welded together and assembled on site whilst positioned on trestles and are being prepared to be lifted into place.

Upcoming works

The curve deck section will be lifted into place from its trestles, followed by the straight deck sections. This will be undertaken using complex lifting arrangements with up to three cranes working simultaneously. 

A lead crane will lift and support deck sections into place with tailing cranes lifting cable stays that will, ultimately, carry the forces and support the deck sections as they span the river. 

Barges will be launched into the river and fitted with Elevated Working Platforms, where operatives will be working to gain access to the bridge deck sections being lifted over the river.

In the lead up to the lifts, clearways will be imposed on the delivery routes to allow access for the deliveries of cranes and bridge deck sections to site. Following the completion of bridge lifts, stone used for the construction of crane pads will be removed from site by tipper trucks in preparedness for landscaping.
 

7 December 2023

Some sections of the bridge have now started to be lifted into place. The piers and the pylon have recently been installed, with more lifts scheduled over the coming weeks.

There will then be a break for Christmas, with further sections of the bridge lifted into position in the new year. 

All dates are dependent on suitable weather conditions.

image of pylon being lifted into place

6 November 2023

Three pylon sections, which have been on quite a journey, will soon be arriving on the site where Kepax Bridge is being constructed in Worcester.
 
The steel pylons, weighing 15 tonnes each and measuring 10 metres in height, are being delivered to site on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, before they are welded together.
 
The pylons started their journey in Ireland, where they were constructed by Jamestown, before arriving in Scunthorpe to be spray painted by Jack Tighe and then transported to the Kepax Bridge site.
 
Multiple sections of the bridge have been arriving over the past few weeks, with more due to arrive in the coming weeks, before they are lifted into position over the river, later this year.

A large pylon from the bridge being worked on in a workshop

A large pylon head piece of the bridge in a workshop after being spray painted

27 October 2023

Large steel curved sections of bridge have arrived on the site where Kepax Bridge is being built.
 
The sections of bridge, which weigh 15 tonnes each, have been arriving on the back of large lorries over the past few weeks, with more due to arrive over the next few months.
 
Recently, the above ground structure works have been completed and the areas for the cranes and storage area for bridge beam sections have been prepared.
 
Further sections of the bridge will be delivered over the next few weeks, with the cranes set to arrive later in the year to undertake the bridge lifts. These dates are dependent on suitable weather conditions and may be subject to change.
 
Moving forward, three pylon sections of 15 tonnes each and 10 metres in height, will be delivered and welded together for lifting and a further 10 straight sections weighing 16 tonnes and 12 metres in length, will be delivered and lifted straight from the lorries into place.
Kepax bridge section arrival

Kepax bridge section arrival 2

29 September 2023

Work is well underway on the new path and cycleway, which includes connection to the Severn Way.

All above ground concreting works are complete, with preparations now taking place on both sides of the river to install the crane mats and raised areas for bridge beam storage.

Delivery of the cranes and bridge beams will take place during October and November, with the crane lifts planned to begin late October/early November, subject to the weather.

Kepax bridge update picture

4 August 2023

Works on Kepax Bridge are progressing well, with structures beginning to rise from the foundations.

The construction of bridge has recently focused on the structure bases, in readiness for the installation of the main bridge span starting later this year.

Most of the work so far has been underground, but new photos released today, show how the works are progressing.

Sections of the main bridge will start to be delivered during September and will be assembled on site. The cranes will arrive on site in October to undertake the bridge lift. These dates may be subject to change.

2 March 2023

Two information events are taking place later this month to provide more details about the construction of a new walking and cycling bridge in Worcester.

Kepax Bridge is being built over the River Severn and works are already well underway. A site compound and offices have been installed in Gheluvelt Park and next to Hallow Recycling Centre on the opposite side of the river, as well as preparatory works to pave the way for the main construction work.

Worcestershire County Council has organised two drop-in information events, which will enable people to have a look at images and a computer generation of the final bridge design, as well as ask questions of officers in attendance from the County Council and contractors.

The drop-in sessions will take place on:

Thursday 9 March, The Pumphouse Environment Centre, 2:00pm to 8:00pm

Thursday 16 March, outside Tesco Express, Martley Road, 2:00pm to 8:00pm

4 October 2022

Over the next few weeks, the site compounds and associated offices will be put into place in Gheluvelt Park and adjacent to the Hallow Recycling Centre, ahead of work getting fully underway in November.

22 September 2022

Kepax Bridge scheme takes a huge step forward

Kepax Bridge is now able to progress, following approval by the Worcestershire County Council Cabinet earlier today (22 September).

The Cabinet agreed to authorise the award of the main construction contract and requested the Council amend the capital budget to enable works to commence on the construction of the new bridge later this year.

Building on the success of Sabrina Bridge and Diglis Bridge, Worcestershire County Council and Worcester City Council are working in partnership to provide this new walking and cycling bridge over the River Severn.

The bridge will run from Gheluvelt Park to the east of the river to the Kepax site in St John’s, to the west, providing improved cycle and pedestrian connectivity to the north of Worcester City.

It will be the same width as other shared-use bridges in the city such as Diglis, Hams Way, Broomhall Way and Crookbarrow Way.

26 January 2022

Works to prepare for the construction of a new walking and cycling bridge in Worcester are set to get underway next week.

The works will start during the week beginning 31st January 2022 to remove a number of trees on the western end of Gheluvelt Park, where Kepax Bridge will be built.

The works are taking place in connection with Kepax Bridge, which will see the construction of a new crossing over the River Severn. The bridge will help to provide improved cycle and pedestrian connectivity to the north of Worcester City.

28 September 2021

The planning application submitted for another major improvement to the walking and cycling infrastructure in the county has been given the go ahead.

The scheme to deliver Kepax Bridge was approved by the County’s Planning and Regulatory Committee today (28th September).

The bridge aims to provide improved cycle and pedestrian connectivity to the north of Worcester City and to enhance links along the riverside.

Building on the success of Sabrina Bridge and Diglis Bridge, Worcestershire County Council and Worcester City Council are working in partnership to provide this new walking and cycling bridge over the River Severn between Gheluvelt Park and Kepax.

6 July 2021

At today’s Planning and Regulatory Committee meeting, members voted to defer a decision on the application for Kepax Bridge in Worcester.

The committee requested more information about wider connectivity to the bridge which will be presented to them at a future Planning and Regulatory Committee meeting.

12 March 2021

Walking and cycling routes in the county could get a boost at Worcestershire County Council’s next Cabinet meeting, if plans to progress two bridges are given the green light.

Kepax Bridge in Worcester and Hampton Bridge in Evesham are scheduled to be discussed at the meeting next Thursday (18 March).

Proposals and improvements

The scheme will give the opportunity for people to walk and cycle much more quickly between the Henwick Park area (and further afield like Hallow and Broadheath) on the west and Barbourne and Claines in the east. In addition, improvements to the existing walking and cycling network will connect residents via the National Cycle Network.

These include:

  • a new access path provided over the Kepax site to get to the bridge
  • providing pedestrian/cycle links from the bridge to the National Cycle Network, route 45
  • improvements to links on both sides of the river including measures such as signage, removal of “pinch-points” and surfacing where appropriate

View improvements on a map

The scheme will encourage the use of alternative modes of transport for journeys around the city generally, helping to reduce levels of congestion, improve safety and air quality and promote health and wellbeing.

The bridge will be a cable stayed structure, the main span will be supported by cables connected to a single tower or “pylon” on the east side of the river. Once the bridge is built, the intention is that the bridge is to be open 24/7.

The design considerations

The final design of the bridge is complete, the following considerations were made in relation to the position of the bridge:

  • minimise land-take on either side of the bridge whilst ensuring the gradient of the approach ramp meets the standard required
  • avoid areas of flooding on either side: the main bridge span would be above all but the most extreme flood level and the approach ramp would remain open in most flood events
  • distance from residential properties
  • height of bridge to be low enough to minimise the chance of users overlooking properties: a study has been commissioned to model any overlooking issues but the bridge would be some distance from residential properties
  • future maintenance needs and cost
  • relation to desire lines of current cycle paths and walkways
  • the bridge would be “shared use” as, like Diglis and Sabrina Bridges, there would not be room to segregate user groups

Other considerations

Additional dog waste and litter bins

These will be considered as part of the review process and additional bins will be provided as deemed necessary.

Environment

A small number of trees, mostly on the west side of the river, have been removed to accommodate the bridge, however, this has been kept to a minimum and the work was supervised by an ecologist. There are no plans to remove any more trees and replacement planting will be carried out nearby.

The bridge lands on a former landfill site, however, the bridge and access path have been designed in such a way as to have minimal impact on the site during the construction phase and it allows for the type of “settlement” movements that can occur on sites of this kind. As now, gas levels will continue to be monitored by Worcestershire County Council.

Much effort is taken to protect local wildlife:

  • signs will be in place on the junction of Pope Iron Road and Waterworks Road and at the site exit to warn drivers of swans on the road
  • works will not take place in the river during fish migration season
  • intrusive works will not take place near to where animals or birds are nesting

Lighting

The bridge will be lit by under rail lighting and there will be low level LED lights installed on the west of the river. All lighting is designed to be sympathetic to local residents and wildlife.

Local residents

Every effort would be made to ensure that any impact would be kept to a minimum by, for example, restricting delivery and work times and not allowing contractors’ vehicles to be parked in residential areas.

Nearby areas

There are no plans to open a park or play area, there would be a wide path crossing the landfill site between the bridge and Horsford Road only with no access to the Kepax site outside of this path.

Parking

Parking will be monitored on both sides of the river and a number of measures could be put in place, if necessary, to combat unsafe or inconsiderate parking. A resident parking scheme has recently been considered on the Barbourne side of the river, and we are investigating more effective use of local car parks.

Recycling Centre

The access road would still be closed when the Recycling Centre is not open, however, there would be a “bypass” for pedestrians and cyclists to afford access to and from the bridge when the gates are closed.

Safety

There is no reason to believe that provision of the bridge would lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour and there were no reported increases in anti-social behaviour when Diglis Bridge opened, indeed, an increase in legitimate footfall often leads to a reduction in anti-social behaviour; nevertheless, the police were consulted as part of the planning process.

We are currently investigating the provision of CCTV in partnership with colleagues at Worcester City Council.

Working over or near to a river

Flooding is taken into consideration, with the site liable to flooding: 

  • a plan is in place to move equipment to higher ground if needed and continue to operate on site where possible. 
  • certain work will be planned for certain times of the year to reduce the risk of flooding on the programme
  • there are also restrictions to working over a river, including taking into consideration fish migration season

What happens next?

In 2020, we completed a “pre-planning engagement” exercise, responses to which have been summarised in a report to help inform the planning application.

You can download a copy of the report: Pre-Planning Public Engagement Summary Report.

Planning permission was submitted in 2020 and was approved on 28 September 2021. 

The Worcestershire County Council Cabinet agreed to authorise the award of the main construction contract on 22 September 2022. Main construction works are now underway on site.

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