Works at Whorlton commence

Following the successful contract award for essential refurbishment works to Whorlton Bridge, a specialist VolkerLaser team has now completed site set up ready for works to commence.

SMALL_Whorlton Bridge from Downstream 12 October 2023.JPG
SMALL_Whorlton Bridge from Downstream 12 October 2023.JPG

Back in September 2023, VolkerLaser was commissioned by Durham County Council to undertake a programme of works on the Whorlton Bridge near Barnard Castle.

The single span chain suspension bridge was originally opened in 1831, and was only designed to carry horse and carts with coal from the Durham coal fields to the south. In 1914 the structure was assessed, and it was recommended that a 3 ton weight limit be imposed on the bridge which has remained in place to date. It is a Grade II listed structure and a scheduled monument. It is the UK's oldest road suspension bridge with the deck totally supported by its original iron chains.

Update photo 4.jpg

Since October 2023, the team has concentrated on setting up the site compound, immediately experiencing unexpected challenges caused by a series of storms and inclement weather. Despite this, prior to the Christmas shutdown, the team completed the majority of works required. During this time, the team also received the ‘Scheduled Monument Consent’ from Historic England, approving the refurbishment works.

The team is now focussing on understanding the terms and conditions of the consent to ensure works are being carried out in line with Historic England’s parameters, as well as continuing with design works, collaborating with the Environment Agency, and procuring the materials needed for the project start.

Next steps will see the team removing the BT cables from the side of the bridge, and the scaffolding installation is expected to begin at the end of January.

“We are very excited to finally commence the operational phase of this project. Our site team have faced some challenging conditions, but along with our supply chain and procurement team, we have successfully completed the site establishment and I am immensely proud of them all. As we plan ahead and establish our delivery team, the next phase will have us undertaking the preparatory works for the upcoming dismantling of the structure - hopefully with some better weather!”

Chris McHutchison Senior Project Manager - VolkerLaser