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Bridge Demo Reveals Victorian-Era History

Monday, March 26, 2018

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Demolition work on a Victorian-era bridge in Cardiff, Wales, has revealed a note from the same time period, written two months before the bridge was completed.

According to Wales Online, as workers were completing pre-demolition work on the Splott Road bridge, some found the handwritten note, dated 1899.

Bridge History

The note is believed to read: “This bridge was constructed by Makay and Daniel 1899.” It goes on to name past Cardiff suppliers that worked on the span, namely girder work being provided by Finch and Co., of Chepstow, and cast-iron work supplied by Globe Foundry Cardiff.

“We were delighted to find the note inside the bridge,” said Steve Keighley, program manager for Network Rail in Wales and Borders. “We found it during the pre-demolition work and it really connected us to the history of the Victorian structure. It’s incredible that the note has survived.”

The bridge, which connects Adamsdown to Splott, was opened in August 1899, two months after the note was dated.

In 2017, during the first phase of bridge upgrade work, pupils from Moorland Primary School buried their own time capsule, which included a stamp, a CD and pictures and letters from the children.

"It's fantastic to think that, over 100 years from now, a new generation of engineers will be uncovering their history, looking back to 2018," Keighley added.

Demolition Work

The pre-demolition work that revealed the small piece of history is part of a larger project to bring the Victorian-era bridge up to modern demands and standards—namely by demolishing and rebuilding the two halves. This method reduced the period of full closure from an anticipated 12 months to two three-week phases.

In turn, this is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan for Wales, to enable Great Western Railway’s fleet of trains to run between London and Cardiff on electricity.

Currently, Splott Road bridge sits too low to accommodate the additional equipment needed for the electric upgrade. According to Network Rail, the span was also reaching the end of its serviceable life, and the most feasible option is completely replacing the bridge deck.

Work on the bridge is slated for completion by summer, with Carillion serving as principal contractor on the project. The new structure is slated to have a lifespan of 120 years.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Demolition; EU; Europe; Historic Structures; Infrastructure; Program/Project Management

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