3/4/07 09:52 am - warning - bridgelifters working the area
and there are, too!
where once the canal bridge stood supported upon stone, in all its stove black-painted glossy iron glory, there' now just -
three bridges, two of 'em scaffoldwork & wood, the walk-way of the one open to the public & treads up to it covered in some kind of non-slip surface material, the other at the approximate level the old ironwork was used to occupying; and that original bridge is now elevated three or four feet aloft, originally by mobile, telescopic jardine's crane and now maintained at this unaccustomed altitude by four giant "L"-shaped constructions of steel girrrderrrs^W sorry, "I"-beams, pairs welded together by cross-pieces, and then pinned to the stonework that formerly supported the bridge in inverted attitude, lofted feet of the "L"s pointing in towards one another from either side of the canal bridge abutments.
the scaffolding-and-plank bridge beneath the old iron one is not yet complete, mostly because the components for it were not delivered on the thursday or friday as scheduled, but on the tuesday & wednesday of this week just passed; no reason for this was known by the men actually working on the project on & above the canal.
it took half a day for three of them to unstick one side of the bridge - the town end - from the stonework: in the end, one had to cut the pins tying it in position each side, as their and the large nuts' threads were thoroughly and irretrievably locked by many decades' corrosion; on the uphill side, at least two of the rollers that had supported it since c. 1870 were cracked, and all four will eventually be replaced.
the bridge itself is due to be sand/shot-blasted clean of paint and rust, new plates [pinned? welded?] to all significantly corroded parts, then be repainted, and lowered back into position, pinned and then the stonework rebuilt around it. i don't yet know whether the walkway of what appeared to be ex-railway sleepers will be replaced (and renewed where appropos) and the non-slip surfaced steel plates replaced atop them, or just the sleepers, or whether something both appropriate and harder/better-wearing than the sleepers will be found: the reason such an extensive - and expensive - palaver is being gone through, rather than just replacing the metal structure in one fell swoop, is that the bridge is a listed monument - as are all of the original bridges along the canal - because of its age, as well as a public right of way.