The significant improvement works being carried out at Poole Bridge, as part of the major investment in Poole’s infrastructure by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, are progressing.
Sections of the main steelwork, that is being fabricated off site, have started to arrive in Poole.
Three new steel beams which will support the new deck have now been installed from the new Poole abutment to the main copper clad towers; the beams will support the new road spans and carry traffic over Backwater Channel. The installation of the new wider walkways around the towers and the replacement of the old control system are also continuing.
The construction of the Hamworthy abutment is continuing to be a challenge. Significant underground obstructions have been encountered such as extensive remains of previous bridges on the site with lots of timber piles uncovered, as well as a major section of a buried quay wall with large blocks of Purbeck stone that needed to be removed by crane. In addition unchartered live and abandoned utility cables have been found and each one of these needs to be identified and cut out if possible.
John Rice, Engineering Manager, Borough of Poole, said: “A lot of hard work has been carried out over the last few months and we are now beginning to turn the corner on this difficult and challenging project. The work on the Poole side is continuing and the structure is beginning to look more like a bridge. We are also working closely with the contractor to address the issues affecting the construction of the Hamworthy abutment, but until the bridge structure is above the water level it is difficult to predict an exact completion date. We are confident that the work is moving forward and we have all the necessary resources in place to complete the project and reopen the bridge for public use in September. We are continuing to work with all stakeholders to try and minimise disruption as far as possible.”
The temporary bus service arrangements for lower Hamworthy have been extended to 9 September to coincide with the release of the new published bus timetable. A revised lifting schedule for Twin Sails Bridge has also been agreed with the Bridges Operating Board to accommodate the increase in marine traffic over the summer period.
The improvements being carried out at Poole Bridge are part of a much wider co-ordinated programme that will see the A31 to the Port of Poole benefit from significant investment over the next few years.
Rob Dunford, Interim Dorset LEP Director, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "This project is very important for Poole and for the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership as it will ensure the long term future of the two bridge system and play a vital role in supporting growth in the economy and enabling much needed housing. Projects involving work under water always involve greater levels of complexity and risk and we are happy that Borough of Poole is continuing to work hard with the contractor to resolve the issues encountered and minimise the delay to residents.”