Beard Construction wins Bristol suspension bridge project

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Oxford-headquartered Beard Construction, which opened a regional office in Bristol in 2016, has been appointed by The Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust in Bristol as the main contractor for the replacement toll houses project. Work is starting on site this week

The Trust says that the new toll houses will provide a compact, modern working environment for the Bridge attendants with the necessary spaces, amenities and facilities. They will replace the existing outdated 1950s toll booths on the Clifton side of the Bridge and the 1970s addition to the original toll houses on the Leigh Woods side. The original Victorian toll houses on the Leigh Woods approach will be retained and carefully refurbished.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge, now a Grade 1 listed building, is the symbol of Bristol. It spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, linking Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset. It opened in 1864 built to a design by William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw, based on an earlier design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Beard has been awarded the contract to replace the three outdated toll houses with new sensitively designed stone buildings and to refurbish the original Victorian toll houses. Construction is due to start on the seven-month building programme on 2 January with project completion planned for Summer 2019.

The first major milestone will be the demolition of the existing toll houses which is due to take place over the weekend of 19/20 January 2019. This will involve the closure of the bridge to traffic and cyclists from Saturday 19 January 8.00hrs until Sunday 20 January 18.00hrs. Pedestrians will still be able to use the bridge and cyclists may dismount and walk across the bridge. A diversion route will be signed, using Bridge Valley Road, Brunel Way and A369 Rownham Hill.

Trish Johnson, Bridge Master said: “The bridge is a Grade I-listed structure and 153 years old, which requires ongoing work to make sure it can continue to operate effectively and meet modern day needs. This is an exciting project that will both improve the setting of the bridge and provide better working conditions for our attendants, who do a fantastic job as curators of the bridge, round the clock and in all weathers. The build will however be a challenging time for pedestrians and traffic. We will do everything we can to help minimise the impact on users and our neighbours during the construction period and ask everyone to bear with us over the coming months.”

Mike Hedges, Beard Regional Director, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded this unique refurbishment project on the Clifton Suspension Bridge – one of the nation’s most iconic structures/

“We will be working closely with the Trust, local authorities and the community to minimise disruption to bridge users during the project.”