Preserving an iconic landmark: Cleveland Bridge Group’s Trent Bridge rehabilitation project

21st October 2020

Cleveland Bridge Group offers many different types of bridge rehabilitation services, protecting and preserving the world’s historic bridges for future generations.

Take Trent Bridge in Nottingham, for example. This iconic bridge has been providing access across the river for nearly 150 years and, in that time, has become one of the city’s most famous landmarks – even lending its name to the local cricket stadium. However, after long years of service, the bridge needed to be refurbished – and that’s where our specialist services were required.

As part of a £1.1 million investment from the local council, Cleveland Bridge Group were employed as the main contractor on the Trent Bridge rehabilitation project. It was our responsibility to prevent the degradation of this structure, while also minimising disruption to the local area.

Continue reading, below, for more details on our work on this project.


Painting to protect

Cleveland Bridge Group’s main responsibility on the Trent Bridge project involved painting all steel and cast iron elements on the structure, which totalled to more than 11,000m2. This brought two bridge rehabilitating benefits.

First of all, our work maintained the historic appearance of Trent Bridge, a Grade 2-listed structure. In fact, we found exact colour matches for all painted areas, including intricate artwork on more than 400 cast rosettes. This respect for Trent Bridge’s heritage continued with the bridge fascia, where we worked with a specialist partner to restore the 120m2 of gold leafing to its former glory.

Repainting the bridge had a practical benefit, too. As well as enhancing aesthetics, the new coat of paint will also help to protect Trent Bridge from corrosion – one of the most common causes of bridge degradation. That’s because the fresh paint prevents moisture from coming into direct contact with the metal structure, inhibiting the chemical reaction that causes corrosion.


Repairing with respect

In addition to the more delicate work of painting and replacing artwork, Cleveland Bridge Group were also contracted to repair some of Trent Bridge’s physical ailments.

As with the painting, we worked hard to preserve the look of this historic bridge, even when replacing parts. Any cast-iron parapet components that couldn’t be repaired in situ, for example, were replaced using the moulds of existing intact decorations. This method allowed us to cast brand new sections of the bridge, without compromising its heritage.

The heritage stonework on the bridge’s piers and abutments also required our attention, securing the long-term load-bearing capacity of the bridge.

Overcoming unexpected obstacles

Unexpected delays are a common problem for construction projects; in fact, completing work within the agreed timeframe is very often the greatest challenge on any build. However, it is a challenge that Cleveland Bridge Group relishes, as it allows us to flex our creative problem-solving.

On the Trent Bridge project, the biggest potential disruption was the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, which resulted in a three-week closure at the height of the pandemic. Yet, with close client collaboration and innovative ideas from our team, we were able to make up for that lost time. Our solution involved working on two bridge spans simultaneously, instead of sequentially. Not only did this allow us to adhere to the agreed maintenance schedule, but this method also enabled on-site social distancing for our workers.

Unscheduled emergency works on an adjacent bridge also required creative problem-solving from Cleveland Bridge Group. As this closed another major route across the river, Trent Bridge needed to remain open at all times during construction. In response, our specialist team implemented a number of innovative solutions, including transferring all scaffolding via river-going platoon, allowing us to both keep traffic lanes open and continue work unabated.

Despite these challenges, we completed our bridge rehabilitation work on Trent Bridge within the agreed timeframe. Chris Capewell of Nottingham City Council was impressed with our creative problem solving, “Cleveland Bridge were a pleasure to work with. Whatever delays or obstructions were thrown at them, they managed to find effective ways to complete the extensive repairs and repainting works on time and to an extremely high standard. Their efforts mean this much-loved structure will retain its heritage appeal for many more generations, while providing the structural strength needed for modern-day traffic.”

Our work restoring Trent Bridge is just one example of the many bridge rehabilitation services that we offer. To find out more, head over to Bridge Rehabilitation on our website.

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