Restoration of the Grand Bridge

Critical conservation work to help preserve our iconic Grand Bridge will be able to proceed thanks to a £547,200 grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. As well as securing the bridge for future generations, the work will provide a fascinating insight to the bridge’s history. Early investigations have already revealed paved sections, older cobbled areas and various graffiti bearing testimony to some of the early craftsmen who worked on the bridge.

The current work is being carried out to restore and repair the waterproof deck of the 18th century bridge in order to prevent on-going damage to the underlying structure. It will allow us to replace the deck of the iconic bridge, carry out essential drainage works, roadway repairs, and install a waterproof membrane to prevent water percolating through the stonework; there are also plans to provide a footpath which will allow pedestrians to cross the bridge in safety away from passing traffic.

We are working very closely with ecologists and bat specialists to ensure that they stay happy and safe during this and any future restoration work.

This image is an artist's impression of Vanbrugh's original design for the bridge.

 

Progress on the restoration

Old stone has been removed and is awaiting the new stone to be fitted, the bits of timber are supports for the stone above while the old stone has been removed.
The terracotta layer on view either side of the bridge was originally used to prevent water seeping in to the bridge, this then had a layer of clay on top. Below the partially removed tarmac you can see the original pebbled road surface in places, and we've discovered the bridge had a set of gates across the gap.
A new membrane is due to be put across the bridge under the tarmac to offer a better water proofing solution and new drainage is being installed in order to prevent on-going damage to the underlying structure.