One of the world’s oldest bridges wins top award

One of the world’s oldest bridges wins top award

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Travel and roads

An historic cast-iron footbridge in Worcestershire that was recently extensively restored to bring it back to its former glory has won a national award.

Austcliffe Cast Iron Footbridge near the village of Caunsall close to Kidderminster, which dates back to around 1782, came out on top in the New Life category at the 2023 Bridges Awards.

 The bridge which spans the River Stour is supposedly the oldest such structure in the UK.

 It was recognised as a project which made excellent use of existing materials, refurbishment of 240-year-old cast iron spans, extensive use of recycled type 1 and Eurovia produced Reco-foam, employment of local supply chain partners (Nu-Weld), enhancement of the local environment and connecting local communities.

Councillor Mike Rouse, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways and Transport, said: “I’m delighted that Austcliffe Bridge has been recognised in this way with a national award.

“The restoration of the bridge last year was a fantastic project, working with our partners, to bring the bridge back to its former glory. A huge well done to all involved.”

Austcliffe Cast Iron Footbridge underwent the extensive conservation project in early 2022.

The historic bridge was under threat due to general deterioration and the County Council worked alongside its highway’s contractor Ringway to fully restore the bridge.   

The four-month long project saw it cleaned, repaired and various elements of the bridge replaced including the steel arch repainted by a specialist and reinstalled, the north abutment was rebuilt with a new ramp and the railings leading to the bride parapet were also replaced in keeping with the original character of the bridge.

Highly innovative at the time of construction, the bridge was built just 16 years after the great iron bridge in Ironbridge, in 1795.

The structural engineers on the Austcliffe project were Leeke Associates based in Stourbridge.

The Bridges Awards 2023 were held on March 8 at Coventry Building Society (CBS) Arena, Coventry, UK. The New Life category recognises an outstanding project involving bridge refurbishment for the benefit of the local community.