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High Orchard Bridge

This page reports on the construction of a new bridge to carry St Ann Way over the canal, about 300 yards to the south of Llanthony Bridge. This road between the Peel Centre lights on the Bristol Rd and the Spinnaker Rd junction on Hempsted Lane is a vital element of the Gloucester Quays regeneration scheme. The following links lead to pages giving information about other aspects of the overall scheme and the origin of the name:

Gloucestershire College  Outlet Centre Plans  Outlet Centre Progress  Sainsbury's Food Store
Restaurant Quarter   Phase 2   High Orchard

Plans for the New Bridge
    The picture shows an impression of the bridge viewed from the south. Designed by White Young Green of Bristol as a landmark structure, the bridge will have a single counter-balanced lifting span stiffened by tensioned cables attached to two tall tubular masts joined by a horizontal bar at the top. The bridge span will be as slimline as possible to preserve the existing views, and the open aspect will be maintained by keeping the approach embankments as far back from the canal edge as possible. The bridge will have an air draught of 5.6 metres to allow most boats to pass underneath. It will be paid for by English Partnerships as a contribution to the regeneration of central Gloucester.

     The contract for constructing the bridge and the approach roads was awarded to Alun Griffiths Contractors Ltd of Abergavenny in January 2007. Site clearance work started immediately, and public access along the towpath was fenced off. 

     Contractors began driving piles into the canal bank in early March to prepare the foundations for the bridge abutments, and they started forming the huge western approach embankment. In June, concrete was poured to form the dolphins that will guide vessels through the bridge-hole when the lifting section of the bridge deck is raised. More spoil was brought in to raise the embankments for the approach roads.
     By October, the approach road embankments were well advanced, and the foundations for the lifting mechanism were constructed on the west bank. A temporary structure was put up to support the components of the lifting span during fabrication, and the first deck girder was lifted into place on 9 November. The fixed span of the bridge on the east bank was constructed.

January 2008 

After assembly of the lifting span on a temporary structure to the west of the canal was completed, the masts and cables needed to stiffen the span were installed on 8 January.

On 15 January, the 300 tonne lifting span was pushed in stages along rails until it spanned the canal and linked up with the fixed structure on the east side of the canal. (Photo: English Partnerships)

     The span was partially lifted on 18 January to test the hydraulics, and it was fully lifted on 25 January to allow the tall ship Phoenix to pass down the canal.

     The final section of the bridge deck, between the lifting span and the western embankment, was put into position in February. The control cabin was under construction in May.

     The bridge was officially named on 18 Nov 2008 and was opened to traffic on 23 Nov 2008.

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