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Date : 20/07/2010



  • 1. Existing Structure New Road was widened to its present width during the repair works that were carried out to Bideford Longbridge in 1969/70. The repair work to the bridge was required after two spans nearest the town side collapsed in January
    1968. New road was widened by cantilevering out over the River Torridge. Seven reinforced concrete ‘roadbeams’ cast under and across New Road extend out over the river and carry edge beams similar to those on the Longbridge. The gap between the edge beams and the quay wall is filled with a reinforced concrete slab which carries the footpath. The parapet comprises a masonry wall to the north half of the cantilever, which is an extension of the bridge parapet and steel railings between brick/masonry piers to the south half. The cantilever and parapet are shown in Plate 1. The existing river wall is constructed of masonry and extends for a length of approximately 60m southwards from the bridge where it is replaced by a sloping stone revetment. .


Plate 1 – Cantilever Walkway extending out over river.

  • 2. Reasons for Replacement

Date : 20/07/2010

Strength of Cantilever Walkway. The cantilever walkway was assessed for strength in 2002 at the same time as Bideford Longbridge. Structures on the UK road network are generally assessed for 40 tonnes loading and the result of the assessment showed that the existing ‘Roadbeams’ that cross under New Road are only adequate to carry 3 tonnes loading. The reinforced concrete edge beams and the reinforced concrete slab were assessed as adequate to carry 7.5 tonne loading. Following this assessment, as a temporary measure, steel bollards were installed along the edge of the footpath carried by the cantilever to prevent vehicles riding up or parking on the footpath. Bideford Longbridge was also assessed as inadequate for strength and a scheme was developed to strengthen both the bridge and the cantilever. The scheme to strengthen the bridge was eventually abandoned in favour of a repair option which was completed in 2009. A 3 tonne weight limit remains on the Bideford Longbridge but this is not an option for the Cantilever Walkway as this is now the only route for HGV vehicles through the town.

Condition of Cantilever Walkway A Principal inspection of the cantilever walkway was carried out in 2001 and again in 2007 to assess the condition and deterioration of the structure. The ‘Roadbeams’ are generally in poor condition with cracking evident on the soffit and rust staining on the faces (See plate 2).

2. Reasons for Replacement Date : 20/07/2010 Strength of Cantilever Walkway . The cantilever walkway was

Plate 2 – Typical ‘Roadbeam’ – showing rust staining and cracking.

Date : 20/07/2010

All the road beams have steel plates bolted to the faces below the position of the edge beams. These are believed to have been installed because of the cracking to strengthen the beams where they are most highly loaded. The edge beams have been painted in the past with an acrylic type coating which tends to hide defects and also to trap water which tends to accelerate deterioration. They are in poor condition with significant cracking in the soffit of most beams caused by corrosion of reinforcement (See plate 3).

Date : 20/07/2010 All the road beams have steel plates bolted to the faces below the

Plate 3 – Typical ‘Edgebeam’ – showing rust staining and cracking.

The reinforced concrete slabs between the edge beams and the quay wall are generally in good condition with some minor spalling of the concrete face and areas of rust staining.

Materials investigation of Cantilever Walkway. In November 2009 a materials investigation was carried out on the cantilever to explore the extent of reinforcement corrosion and determine the cause of the cracking in the ‘roadbeams’. The investigation reported that corrosion was significant and ongoing and that the potential for additional corrosion was high. It was also determined that the cause of the cracking in the road beams was due to Alkali Silica Reaction (ASR) which is an expansive chemical reaction between the cement and aggregate used in the concrete. The conclusion of the report was that repair of the concrete elements of the cantilever would be a short to medium term solution (15 years maximum) and that a long term solution would require replacement.

Date : 20/07/2010

Stability Assessment of Existing River Wall A site investigation was carried out in 2007 to determine the geometry of the existing river wall so that its stability could be assessed. It was determined that based on current design standards the wall could not be relied on in the medium long term. This was because as a free standing structure the wall is not stable and requires additional support to prevent it moving forward. This support is currently provided by a number of steel anchors installed during the 1970’s widening of New Road. Additional support is also offered by the footway slab that rests on top of the wall The condition of the anchors cannot be assessed and their integrity cannot be relied on in the short to medium term.

Summary of Investigation and Assessment The existing Cantilever Walkway structure is weak and in poor condition. The existing river wall cannot be relied on in the short to medium term to provide support to the footway and carriageway of New Road. A number of options for repair/strengthening were considered before adopting the proposed solution. One option was a repair scheme similar to that recently carried out on Bideford Longbridge which employed a cathodic protection system to prolong the life of concrete repairs. However repair of the cantilever has been rejected for the following reasons:

  • a) Concrete repairs are unlikely to last more than 15 years and are therefore not a cost effective solution. In addition the deterioration of the road beams is quite significant and in order to repair them the edge beams would need to be propped. This would add significant cost to any repair scheme and would not provide good value for money.

  • b) Concrete repairs in association with cathodic protection are much more effective and have a significantly longer lifespan and have been used on Bideford Longbridge. However propping works would still be required adding significantly to the cost. Also cathodic protection is not suitable for application to concrete suffering from ASR and therefore could not be used for the ‘Roadbeams’.

  • c) Repair of the concrete will not increase the strength of the cantilever and unlike the Bideford Longbridge it is not possible to apply a weight limit to New Road as it is the only route for heavy goods vehicles.

  • d) The existing river wall cannot be relied upon to provide adequate support to the footpath and carriageway and would therefore need to be strengthened.

  • 3. Proposed Scheme.

Date : 20/07/2010

It is proposed to demolish and remove the existing cantilever and replace it with a new rock anchored sheet piled faced wall.

Demolition Before demolition commences the existing bridge masonry parapet will be carefully recorded and taken down to be stored off site. This will be reconstructed once the new river wall has been built. The existing brick/masonry pilasters between the metal railing parapet will also be carefully removed and stored. The existing metal posts and railings are in poor condition and it is proposed to replace them. Once the parapet has been removed the edge beams will be removed by either breaking up in situ or cutting up and removing off site. The ends of the ‘Roadbeams’ where they protrude from the existing quay wall will be removed by similar means.

Reconstruction Once demolition has been carried out a new sheet pile wall will be installed along the line of the original edge beams. Backfill will be placed between the new sheet pile wall and old quay wall. This will be done sequentially with the installation of rock anchors to the front face of the sheet pile wall. These rock anchors are required to anchor the wall back into rock and prevent it moving forward from the effect of the earth pressures behind. A reinforced concrete capping beam will be cast to the top of the sheet piles to match the appearance of the edge beams that were removed and a reinforced concrete slab cast to replace the one that was removed and to carry the reinstated footpath. The sheet pile wall will be clad with an in-situ reinforced concrete wall with a masonry surface finish and will look very similar to the existing quay wall. The masonry parapet that was taken down earlier will be reconstructed and the brick/masonry pilasters rebuilt with new parapet railings and posts. The footpath will be reconstructed and the site reinstated to its original condition. It has been agreed with the Environment Agency that the existing sloping stone revetment, forming the west bank of the River Torridge, may be extended northwards by 15 metres. This will decrease the length of new anchored wall required and provide a significant saving in the cost of the project. The new revetment will be constructed from masonry over a granular fill embankment to match the existing appearance.

Traffic Management Plan In order to carry out the demolition of the existing cantilever and to provide a safety zone to the edge of the demolition it is necessary to reduce the width of New Road. However it is proposed to keep New Road open to traffic but to restrict it to two lanes only to gain the required working space. The riverside footpath along New Road will be closed from the roundabout at the west end of Bideford Longbridge for approximately 130 metres. Pedestrians will be able to cross New Road safely at a temporary Zebra crossing to be installed at the south end of the construction site. The safety of this crossing will be further enhanced by extending the existing 20 mph zone southwards beyond this crossing point. The existing parking bays will be removed from this length of New Road.

Date : 20/07/2010

The existing dedicated right turn onto Bideford Longbridge from the southern leg of the mini roundabout will have to be removed to allow two-way traffic to operate and this will also entail the temporary removal of the bollards at this roundabout. The southern footpath over Bideford Longbridge will be closed to pedestrians and a new permanent Pelican crossing will be installed at the east end of the bridge to allow pedestrians to cross safely.