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Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


Patch Bridge Replacement

Due to concern that Patch Bridge, built in the 1960s, was not designed to carry the heavy vehicles that visit the Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, British Waterways made arrangements to install a replacement bridge during the early months of 2009. This page reports progress on the work.

     Plans for the replacement bridge showed a single span with a 10ft 8in wide carriageway and a 4ft wide footway. The bridge will be operated from an adjacent console which will also operate traffic lights and barriers. While this bridge was being installed, road traffic was diverted to a temporary fixed bridge which prevented boat movements until the work was completed.

Temporary Fixed Bridge
      During November and December 2008, contractors prepared the foundations and approach roads for the temporary bridge, and the structure was lifted into place in two parts on 6 January. As road access had to be stopped on that day, arrangements were made for staff of the Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust to be taken across the canal by boat.

Removing the Old Bridge

New Foundations

The old bridge was broken up into small pieces that could be lifted by the digger. By the end of January, the old bridge had been removed.

A piling rig was on site on 9 February to install 60ft deep plies on which to base the foundations for the new bridge. 

Blockage Cleared Temporarily

Replacement Deck Arrives

The temporary bridge was moved to one side for two hours on 16 March to allow the classic yacht Halcyon and other vessels to pass through.

The deck of the replacement bridge was lifted into place on 17 March. It was manufactured by Yorkshire Heavy Engineering Ltd and weighs over 25 tonnes.

Concrete for Counterbalance

Removing Temporary Bridge

The walkway was attached to the side of the new deck, and on 24 March concrete was poured to form the counterbalance.

After railings were attached to the new bridge, the temporary bridge was removed on 3 April and the new bridge was brought into use for road traffic.

Blockage Removed

Official Opening

After the turning mechanism had been commissioned, the bridge was opened for boat movements on 10 April (subject to restrictions).

The new bridge was formally opened by David Drew MP and children from Slimbridge School on 22 April, allowing Queen Boadecia II to pass through.

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