Milestone moment for Wey and Arun Canal restoration project
A major restoration project being undertaken by members of the Wey and Arun Canal Trust has reached a milestone moment.
It came as a footbridge for the road crossing at Tickner’s Heath in Alfold, Surrey, was put into place.
The 6.5 tonne steel frame was carefully lifted in by a 100 tonne crane, ready to be attached by Four-Tees Engineers from Fareham, who created the 16m specialist structure.
The footbridge is part of a project that will also see the construction of a new road bridge and excavation of the canal at the summit.
The original arch bridge across the canal has long been demolished and the road realigned onto an earth causeway which blocks the route of the canal, so the trust intends to create a new road crossing and canal cut to rejoin the original canal to the west of the old crossing.
As the road over the new bridge will be no wider than the existing road, the separate footbridge will be used by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
Work on the project began last autumn and since then volunteers have created culverts, a construction compound and concrete bankseats on which the footbridge sits, as well as the brick facing for the footbridge abutments.
Their next task is to install the oak timber deck and handrails.
Project manager Tony Ford said volunteers and Wey and Arun Canal Trust employees had accomplished a lot in difficult circumstances.
“Volunteers have really shown their commitment to this project, given construction has been stop-start thanks to the several lockdowns we have experienced over the past year.
“Small teams have worked incredibly hard to ensure we have reached this point in the build and that we can press on to the next stage.
“We now look forward to constructing a short temporary diversion for Dunsfold Road to take traffic away from the site of the new canal crossing.
“Following that a water main needs diverting by Thames Water and we can then finally get on to build the new road bridge.”
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust was formed in 1973 with the aim of restoring the 23-mile navigable link between the Rivers Wey and Arun, recreating the direct water link between London and the South Coast.