Open Day to present proposals for a pedestrian bridge over Bridge Valley Road

Issue date: 19 February 2014

15th March 2014-02-16 Engineers' House, 10:00-12:00

An Open Day to present ideas for a traditional masonry arch bridge over Bridge Valley Road will be held at the Engineers' House, The Promenade, Clifton Down, Bristol, BS8 3NB on Saturday15th March 2014, 10:00 – 12:00. Everyone is welcome to look at the plans, designs, give feedback and find out more about how to get involved.

Researchers from UWE Bristol have worked voluntarily for over a year with partners from the Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge (FOD+AG) to help realise a project to build a stone arch bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, linking the Downs either side of Bridge Valley Road. The proposed bridge is to be over 50 metres long to span across the valley, will link two existing footpaths, integrate a separate cycling lane and fit in with the existing architecture in Clifton.

Dr Adrienn Tomor, who has spent her academic life studying masonry arch bridges, says, “This project is a unique opportunity to create a new legacy for Bristol that would link traditional bridge building techniques with modern infrastructure. Masonry arch bridges have been built all over the world for over 1,000 years and have stood the test of time. They are sustainable, efficient and beautiful. The bridge we are hoping to build should last over 300 years, should not be much more expensive than a concrete or steel equivalent and will be highly economic in the long-term.

“We are not only proposing to build a bridge for the Bristol Green Capital year 2015 but to inspire people for years to come. We would like to use this opportunity for people to join in, experiencing the excitement that bridge builders used to experience centuries ago as they faced various challenges. We are intending to use traditional techniques with modern technology whenever possible, for example for stone cutting, transport and lifting. It is not intended to be a commercial project and we are keen to get as much involvement from the wider community as possible.

“The initial proposal went to pre-planning application to Bristol City Council before Christmas 2013 and received a favourable response. The project also received support from the Downs Committee that represents Bristol City Council and the Merchant Venturers. At the moment we are putting the planning application together and decided to organise an open day to provide information about the proposals and gather ideas from the wider community.

“The current plans include the potential to create a range of training and apprenticeship programs for young (and not so young) people to learn about traditional building techniques and engineering skills that may in turn lead to the creation of a new specialist industry sector for Bristol. The project will also include a live learning opportunity bringing history, heritage, arts and engineering sectors together, opportunities for a wide range of interest groups to take part in the project and help bring it to fruition. This is a unique opportunity; it is up to us what we make out of it.”

Jack Penrose from FODAG, commented, “FOD+AG is keen to promote greater pedestrian access to the Downs and Avon Gorge, particularly for children, the disadvantaged and the elderly. We are very supportive of the proposals put forward by UWE and hope to make the project into an inspirational opportunity for people.”

To find out more visit the Bridge Valley Road stone bridge webpage.

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