Spa bridge work wins top award

Sunny weather today, but rain stopped play on the final stage of the restoration of the Spa Bridge. 'The rainy days this week came on the days the final, buff coloured surfacing was to be laid on the bridge walkway, pushing back the opening from Friday to next week.'101437c pic Andrew Higgins in News 08/04/10
Sunny weather today, but rain stopped play on the final stage of the restoration of the Spa Bridge. 'The rainy days this week came on the days the final, buff coloured surfacing was to be laid on the bridge walkway, pushing back the opening from Friday to next week.'101437c pic Andrew Higgins in News 08/04/10
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THE £700,000 renovation of Scarborough’s historic Spa Bridge has won a prestigious award.

THE £700,000 renovation of Scarborough’s historic Spa Bridge has won a prestigious award.

North Yorkshire County Council is one of three principal winners in the 2011 Historic Bridge and Infrastructure Awards, organised by English Heritage, the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the County Surveyors Society to ‘recognise and encourage excellence and innovation in conservation’.

The 184-year-old landmark was closed to the public from November 2009 to April 2010 while the refurbishment took place.

Judges praised the county council’s restoration of the bridge – a key element of Scarborough’s tourist heritage – and said it displayed “high quality workmanship and attention to detail.”

County councillor Gareth Dadd, executive member for highways, said: “North Yorkshire County Council has a large number of historic and important bridges in its care, ensuring that they are not only conserved as they should be, but also that they are safe for all users, requires enormous expertise – particularly in these times of economic austerity.

“An award like this is a tremendous vote of confidence in the county council’s highways engineers and their contractors.”

The restoration, designed by the county council’s consultants, Jacobs, and undertaken by Wilf Noble Construction of Whitby, took five months to complete.

John Smith, the county council’s bridges and structures manager, added: “A great deal of forethought went into the engineering of this project and I think the bridge now looks magnificent, and something of which everybody in Scarborough can be very proud.”

The Spa Bridge was built in 1826 to connect the town centre to the newly-opened Spa complex.

The restoration work involved the replacement of all the timbers which support the walkway on the bridge.

The work was necessary because the edge timbers which were spliced to the main support beams to widen the bridge at some time during its life were sagging and the connections which held these timbers in place suffered from heavy corrosion.

The new construction has beams which span the full width of the deck to prevent the problem from happening again. The surfacing of the new deck has been colour matched and textured to suit the surrounding footways

FACT FILE

- The Spa Bridge first opened to members of the public on June 19 1827.

- Its opening ceremony, which saw a sailor being driven over the bridge standing on top of a horse-drawn mail cart and the firing of guns, attracted 10,000 people.

- Initially, people that wanted to use the bridge had to pay a toll. It would remain in place until 1951 when the council purchased the bridge from the Spa Company for £22,500.

- In 1880, the bridge deck was widened from 13.5ft to 23ft to allow extra pedestrian traffic.

- The bridge is 414ft long 23ft wide, and crosses the valley at a height of approximately 75ft.