Northumberland County Council has won a prestigious award for its work on restrengthening Rothbury bridge.
The county is one of this year’s winners in the Historic Bridge and Infrastructure Awards (HBIA) which ‘recognise and encourage excellence and innovation in conservation.’ The awarding judges commented that ‘Traditional techniques and an innovative use of modern materials have been skilfully combined to complement and enhance the character of the old bridge rather than over-shadow it’.
Northumberland County Council invested £3.7million in the bridge works and a team including engineers and stone masons carried out a highly complex series of works to strengthen thebridge which was built in 1460.
The bridge across the River Coquet is within the heart of the community in Rothbury, and closing the bridge for any length of time was not feasible. Engineers met the challenge by building a temporary Bailey bridge to carry traffic across the river while the work on the original bridge was completed.
The work on the bridge was also subject to several constraints as the structure is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and spans a river which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, with protected species of bats and birds.
Following consultation with local people, the council’s stonemasons joined with local stonemasons to construct features last seen more than 100 years ago, such as parapets and refuges. Six Victorian lamp posts were added to restore the bridge to its former glory.
The restored bridge was opened by her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland in December 2012.
The HBIA awards are open to projects which must involve the structural maintenance, strengthening, and restoration or conservation of a structure more than 30 years old. It must be within England, Wales or Scotland and must have been completed within two years of the closing date for nominations.