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Bridging the gap - Streets Ahead complete refurbishments on city’s bridges

Metal footbridge with blue and cloudy sky background
Broughton Lane footbridge

Streets Ahead has recently completed refurbishment of the steelwork on two bridges in Sheffield as part of the city’s highway maintenance programme.

August was a busy month for the Structures team which saw the steelwork repainted on Livesey Street bridge, which spans the River Don in Hillsborough. The work involved repainting the main beams, removing graffiti and applying an anti-graffiti coating to the stonework.

Refurbishment works have also taken place on Broughton Lane Railway Bridge and the adjacent footbridge in Tinsley.

Sheffield has a multitude of historic bridges that span all manner of roads and waterways and form part of the collection of over 3000 structures the Streets Ahead teams maintain all year round.

Chris Hampson, Operations Manager at Streets Ahead said:

“To undertake the work on Livesey Street Bridge, we used a cradle system, which hangs off the side of the bridge, enabling the team to access all areas under the structure using a pulley system. This allows the work to be carried out quickly and efficiently without having to erect scaffolding and block the river channel.

The work on both Broughton Lane Bridges was undertaken over many months due to the location on a main road over rail and tram lines, Chris continued:

“We had to liaise with both Network Rail and Supertram to co-ordinate track usage before any works could start to ensure the safety of workers and the users of the railway and Supertram.

“Overall, the scheme itself presented a range of challenges with sporadic track possession, meaning we had to complete work overnight in very short working windows. The changeable weather conditions also affected the schedule, especially strong winds when the access equipment couldn’t be used. However, we are pleased with the outcome and hope that people will be able to see just what a difference the improvements make.”

In recent years, the team at Streets Ahead has worked on the Victorian bridge over the River Don at Oughtibridge, strengthened using over 18 tonnes of steel reinforcement in 2014 and the historic Unsliven Bridge in Stocksbridge, a Grade II listed structure, that was also strengthened in 2017.  Another one of the city’s bridges, Newhall Bridge, originally built in 1889, was also strengthened, repaired and restored in 2018.

Whilst most of the significant work on Sheffield’s bridges has been completed, the team continue to provide an annual maintenance programme and two-yearly inspections to ensure they stay in the best possible structural condition.

Executive member for Housing, Road and Waste Management at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Paul Wood said:

Sheffield has hundreds of bridges, of which, 600 are maintained as part of the Streets Ahead programme. From large viaducts to smaller footbridges, they form a vital part of our road network and allow people to travel safely over waterways and roads.

“Work to maintain bridges is often difficult and requires meticulous attention to detail as well agility; with workers having to access hard to reach locations, sometimes at great heights.

“The majority of Sheffield’s bridges have been worked on since the start of the Streets Ahead programme including Smithy Bridge in Bradfield, Tinsley Canal Bridge and Western Bank Underpass. It’s a job that is never finished and routine maintenance is crucial to ensure the longevity and safety of our bridges for hundreds of years to come.”

Find out more about the Streets Ahead programme of works.