Bristol Celebrates as Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge reopens

VolkerLaser’s sensitive refurbishment has given the Grade II listed structure a new lease of life; showing clear signs of structural instability, the bridge was closed in October 2016 for vital works.

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The bridge was officially opened on Wednesday 31 May, with presentations from VolkerLaser, CH2M and Bristol City Council, who have all worked in collaboration to ensure the success of this refurbishment.

The event was attended by councillors, interest groups and members of the community, who became the first people to officially walk across the bridge.

“I told people it was opening this week and they were absolutely delighted,” said local resident Pauline Barnes. “It’s been such an important route to people for well over a hundred years that it does mean a terrific amount to them, and I think they are going to be delighted with it when they see it. We’ve got to be very thankful that it has been saved in this way for people.”

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Sensitive Restoration

Consisting of 1,500 tonnes of metalwork and certified as a Grade II listed structure, the Swing Bridge’s refurbishment required skilful handling. Many of the problems encountered required innovative solutions; in order to contain pollution and protect crew members, VolkerLaser fully encapsulated the bridge whilst the lead-based paint was removed. This was further complicated by the River Avon, which rose so high every fortnight that the encapsulation had to be lifted clear of the water.

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MetroBus scheme

As part of the MetroBus scheme, the bridge has been fully refurbished, and now boasts a bus lane as well as a wider cycle and pedestrian path. The MetroBus scheme is a bus rapid transit system currently under construction in Bristol.

The busway on the bridge will be fenced off until testing for MetroBus’ guided buses starts this summer, but the walking route and cycle-way are now fully open to the public.