Lisa Woodburn wrote to Ruth Bagnall, the City Councillor quoted in a recent article in the Cambridge Evening News which reminded us that the trials of new materials for the bridge over the railway (see Newsletter 48) had not gone ahead. Lisa asked:
- What will these trials (when they take place) consist of? Will just a few small panels be replaced or will a large part of the bridge covering be replaced?
- Are we likely to see a new covering for the bridge within the next five or ten years?
The questions were passed on to Gareth Guest, Area Bridge Engineer at Cambridgeshire County Council, who replied:
‘Due to a collapsed bridge near Ely, funds were diverted from several schemes to enable a new bridge to be designed and installed to reopen a road to various villages. Carter bridge was one of those schemes that were cut from last year’s budget. It is in the 2004-2005 budget, but again it could get cut if other bridge priorities emerge, because we only have allocated a limited bridge maintenance budget.
‘Should the work take place we intend to replace a 30 to 40 metre section of glazing and flooring at the Rustat Road end of the bridge. This work does not affect the railway or car park and should therefore keep costs to a minimum. We have opted for the latest technology for polycarbonate and a new lightweight composite floor to replace the old timber sheets. We need to see how these materials behave in situ and in use to judge how well they perform. Sunlight degradation and chemical attack happened to the old glazing over a short period. I envisage that we will take stock after two years. It is our intention to replace the glazing and flooring over the entire bridge but the expense and time constraints imposed by Network Rail mean that the railway spans will be difficult and expensive. Budget restraints and other priorities will dictate how much is done each year, and as yet I cannot say how long this project will take.’