Release Date: 05 October 2012
Another milestone in the restoration of the Cotswold Canals was reached today, with the opening of a brand new swing bridge at Chestnut Lane, Stroud.
The £300,000 structure is capable of carrying the heaviest vehicles on the road and is the biggest swing bridge to be installed as part of the canal project.
The ribbon-cutting was performed by Cllr Geoff Wheeler, Leader of Stroud District Council, and Cllr Roger Sanders, the council's Executive Member for Regeneration. "This opening underlines the tremendous progress we are making on regenerating the canal," said Cllr Wheeler. "We know residents and businesses have been inconvenienced whilst the crossing has been closed, but we are very grateful for their fantastic support and tolerance."
As soon as the bridge was swung into position, the first car to cross the new bridge was driven by Janet Blake, co-owner of Cristie Electronics, one of the businesses most affected while the crossing was closed for 6 months.
The bridge was designed and constructed by Leicestershire-based Galliford-Try, whose Senior Engineer Richard Scott said "It has been fascinating working on a project with such heritage behind it, incorporating modern day codes and standards in to historic structures. This is an example of one of the many Engineering challenges where we have worked closely as a team with our client Stroud District Council to solve. Taken with the support from the local community, this has made it a very satisfying project."
The bridge is built to 21st century standards, but looks very much like the original Stroudwater Navigation swing bridges. It is operated by an electro-hydraulic system, using a key normally carried by boaters.
Since starting work on the canal project, Stroud District Council has now opened up 4km of canal. Another 630m will be added as soon as the two locks at Dudbridge are completed next summer.