Wilford Suspension Bridge Reopening on 12 February 2010

Wilford Suspension Bridge Open Again!

Following the reopening of the bridge, its owners, Severn Trent Water Ltd., received several messages of appreciation and thanks from members of the public and they then decided, with our agreement, to put a few of these on their website at http://www.stwater.co.uk/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.3862

Some pictures from the reopening on Friday 12 February!
(with acknowledgements to John Holmes, BBC Radio Nottingham, D Jones,
Keith Singleton, Hilary Backhouse, Stuart Reekie, Jon Hancock Photography
and also courtesy of Severn Trent Water Ltd)

2 pictures showing the ribbon cutting by Hugh McClintock, with, on the left,
Fraser Pithie, Director of Operations, Severn Trent Water



The 2 groups assembled on both side of the Trent prepared to meet up on the Bridge!





(The above 4 photos are Copyright Jon Hancock Photography, 2010)

John Holmes of BBC Radio Nottingham interviewing Hugh McClintock

Students Journalist from Nottingham Trent University


above photo: Acknowledgements Nottingham Evening Post



Copyright Jon Hancock Photography, 2010

 

Exchange of letters on 16 Feb between Hugh McClintock and Tony Wray,
Chief Executive Officer, Severn Trent Water:

Dear Mr. Wray
 
Over the last few days since Friday's reopening of the Wilford Suspension Bridge I have had many expressions of appreciation for all your efforts in repairing and reopening the bridge and for the distinct improvements made as part of this, especially the decking and spacing of the bollards as well as the complete repainting.
 
It has also be very good to see so many different people using the Bridge again and clearly very much enjoying be able to do so, even with the weather still being still so chilly! I have also noticed lots of people lingering on or near the bridge to admire the changes.
 
On behalf of all those involved in the campaign to reopen the Bridge please convey our warmest thanks and appreciation to all those involved in the project and also to your various stakeholders whose role was also vital.
 
Yours sincerely, 
Hugh McClintock
Chairman, Pedals (Nottingham Cycling Campaign)
162 Musters Road
West Bridgford
Nottingham
NG2 7AA

and reply from Mr. Wray, CEO, Severn Trent Water:

Dear Mr McClintock,

We are delighted that we have been able, along with others, to restore the amenity provided by the bridge.  I know it was not a straightforward accomplishment but I hope that we have demonstrated to you our genuine committment to achieve the right outcome.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and letting me know how the bridge is once again back in productive use.

Best Regards

Tony Wray
CEO Severn Trent

Letter (12 Feb) of thanks to Supporters of the Campaign to re-open
the Wilford Suspension Bridge from Hugh McClintock:

Very many thanks to all of you for your support over the last 19 months for the campaign to get the Suspension Bridge open again and particular thanks to those of you who were able to brave the cold weather and get along to the opening ceremony at lunchtime today, for which we had a very good turnout, on both sides of the Trent.
 
True to form Severn Trent kept us waiting yet again as Fraser Pithie, their Director of Operations, got delayed on the way, and my cutting the tape therefore did not go ahead until about 15-20 minutes after it should have!
 
To save everyone from getting completely frozen I therefore cut short my intended speech, including my very warm thanks to all campaign supporters, to the County and City Councils for their financial support, and to Severn Trent for finally getting the work done after a whole lot of ups and downs that continued until the last few days! They clearly recognise now that they were very remiss at the time of closure in not appreciating the strength of feelings locally about the bridge being out of action!
 
To compensate for the very long wait we at least have some very worthwhile improvements including not only repainting on what should be much more rust- and weather-proof paint but also much smoother decking across the bridge, and more conspicuous and better space bollards at both ends which will make it much easier to negotiate by bike trailers and wheelchairs.
 
Regular inspection and maintenance should now get much more attention making it much less likely, we hope, that the bridge will ever need to be closed again, or at least for anything like as long as in this very sorry saga.
 
Had I not had to cut down my speech I would have liked to have included a special tribute to Roland Backhouse in particular. Indeed, I was going to start with a confession because, when the bridge first closed late in July 2008, I at first found it very difficult to focus on this shock decision and its implications, because, as some of you will know, I was then just 10 days or so into a long rail trip from Nottingham to Central Asia and back with my wife. I forget now whether it was in Tehran or Tashkent that I first got Roland's email with the news of the bridge closure and asking what Pedals was doing about it! Although I gave him a few suggestions for people to liaise with it was not really, I must admit, until after my return in early September that we really started to get to grips with the campaign! I know that quite a few people think that Severn Trent deliberately waited to close the bridge until they knew that I was well out of the way!!
 
My main feeling this morning, as well as excitement at the reopening finally happening, and the very impressive turnout from such a wide range of people, was to feel the need to pinch myself that it was now a reality!
 
However, we in Pedals certainly will not be resting on our laurels and the focus now, with other organisations such as the Nottingham Civic Society etc., is to campaign to establish a much more secure status for the right of way over the bridge, for cyclists and pedestrians.
 
We also want, together with several other West Bridgford-based organisations, to see a series of further improvements on the connecting paths on the south bank of the Trent, including proper lighting on the path past Rivermead Flats to Wilford, and rehabilitation of the much neglected route through to the NWSC at Holme Pierrepont from Trent Bridge and Trentside. These could add to the very popular Big Track network of canal- and riverside paths north of the Trent which have seen much recent improvement as well as to link in with the further development of Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 15 across the south of the county between Newark and Castle Donington etc.
 
We seem to have had a lot of photographers along to the reopening including one from the Evening Post and a bunch of student journalists from Nottm Trent University, as well as some freelancers. John Holmes from BBC Radio Nottingham, himself a keen cyclist who has sorely missed the bridge, came along and did some recordings which he then used on his afternoon show with a very enthusiastic report. He also then mentioned that there are already some pictures of the reopening on their website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0069nc7
 
If anyone else took photos and can send me copies that would be very welcome please. We want to have a good selection to put soon on the Pedals website.
 
Hugh


6 weeks on from the reopening, a shot of the refurbished Bridge, and the Spring
daffodils on the Victoria Embankment, all sparkling in the lovely spring sunshine!

UPDATE, Thurs 11 Feb

Wilford Suspension Bridge

IS reopening on

Friday 12 Feb at 12.30!

 After two weeks of endless ups and downs I have  just heard from Severn Trent Water plc that the Wilford Suspension Bridge is reopening tomorrow at 12.30 so our planned 'Happening' will after all be a Celebration and not a Protest!! 

UPDATE, Monday 8 February 2010

Suspension Bridge Closure Protest,
Friday 12 February, 12.30-13.30

Early last year ago more than 500 people supported the online petition arranged by Pedals and 6 other local organisations to campaign for the early reopening of the Wilford Suspension Bridge by its owners, Severn Trent Water plc.

 

Although repair work did go finally go ahead in May, helped by financial contributions from both the County and City Councils, it became clear after the next few months that the damage to the bridge's structure was much greater than had been realised, bringing the total cost of repair to almost £2 million and adding a further 4 months to the time needed to complete the work. This had at first been scheduled for the end of October.
 
All this extra delay has of course been extremely frustrating to the many people; cyclists, walkers and runners, who want to use the bridge but we now have an even more frustrating and absurd situation with the bridge repair work being complete but the bridge still closed and no definite plans for its reopening!
 
Only 2 weeks ago STW told us that they hoped to reopen the bridge last Friday, 5 February, and would like Pedals to help them organise a calvacade to mark this. They did however make clear that they could only reopen the bridge once they had a firm agreement with all their partners for its long term maintenance. Despite a lot of intense and high-level negotiations over the last week or so this has still not been reached, we  have been informed this evening, and we have therefore decided to go ahead with a short event this Friday lunchtime (12 Feb), from 12.30-13.30, to protest at the bridge's continued closure and the failure to set a date for its reopening. This will include demonstrations at both ends of the bridge and we will be soon contacting the media to get good coverage.
 
In making our protest I suggest that our main aim is not to allocate blame to any particular organisations but rather to underline our great disappointment at the repeated delays in getting this vital link open particularly when it is now so obvious to passers by that the repair work has been finished. We will be demanding that the bridge open without any further delay.
 
I hope that many of you will be able to come along and also to encourage others to do so. We will be discussing the arrangements in more detail on Wednesday so do contact me (0115) 981 6206 or Karina Wells (on 0115 914 7408, email: karina.wells@ntlworld.com ) if you have any questions or comments. Please note however that I will be away at a funeral from Tuesday morning until late Wednesday afternoon so before then please direct any queries to Karina.
 
It is still just possible that by Wednesday there may after all be some brighter news and that the event on Friday could after all be a celebration of the reopening rather than a protest but as of now that does not look very likely. If that is the case we will of course let you know asap and then change our plans accordingly!
 
Do please spread the word to anyone who may be able to come along!
Thanks for your interest and support!
 
Hugh McClintock

 

Images of work progress early in November 2009
Work Update Nov 09

Work Update Nov 09

Click on the image to see the work as of 24 September 2009

Copy of the notices about the repair work erected at both ends of the Suspension Bridge on 2 March by Severn Trent Water (click for full size). 

Latest Notice
 
For more information contact 'Wilford Bridge Project, Severn Trent Water, Sherbourne Green, St. Martin's Road, Coventry CV3 6SD, or email. wilfordbridge@severntrent.co.uk or visit the special pages on the STW website at: http://www.stwater.co.uk/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.3544

Background

Since July 2008, the Wilford Suspension bridge was closed by its owners Severn Trent Water PLC. After many months of delay it has transpired that Wilford Bridge Closurerepair work is now unlikely to start before May it could be until Autumn 2009, before it is reopened again, causing much frustration for its many regular users who of course include many cyclists as well as walkers and runners.

Wilford Bridge ClosureSTW have so far not made public full details of their survey into the condition of the bridge, first built in 1904 to carry water from Wilford Hill into Nottingham and Pedals and other interested groups who met together on 12 January have now challenged them to speed up their action so as to ensure that the bridge is reopened earlier this summer.

Since 1982, following pressure from Pedals to allow cycle as well as pedestrian access, there has been a Concession Agreement between STW and the County and City Council to allow this, in return for maintenance contributions.

Wilford Bridge ClosureAlthough this did not provide for a secure right of way for bridge users, the bridge has since then become even more of a crucially important link for pedestrians and cyclists to get safely from West Bridgford to Victoria Embankment (paddling pool and playground), Nottingham University, Queens Medical Centre, and several other major employers as well as into town.

It is also important for many people coming the other way including the many football and cricket spectators who park their cars on the Embankment and now have to walk over Trent Bridge to go to the major sporting events.

Wilford Bridge ClosureAny further delay in repairing the bridge extending well into the autumn would therefore not only mean continuing great frustration and inconvenience for regular users but also impact adversely on people attending a series of major sporting and cultural events

Groups from across West Bridgford and the City have now met to step up their action to raise the profile of this issue and have now launched this petition to present to the Chief Executive of Severn Trent Water, Mr. Tony Wray.

Wilford Bridge ClosurePlease sign and forward it to as many people you know who use the bridge whether daily or more occasionally, and whether as cyclists, walkers or runners or just anyone who values it highly as a major landmark in the riverside area.

A flyer can be downloaded below and distributed.

For more information ring Hugh McClintock on (0115) 981 6206 or email: Hugh.McClintock@ntlworld.com

 Wilford Bridge Closure Wilford Bridge Closure

 

 

 

 


 

Correspondence With Severn Trent Water

Letter to Severn Trent Water CEO, January 13, 2009

Dear Mr Wray,

We are very concerned to learn that the Wilford Suspension Bridge will not be reopened before November 2009. Not only is this a major problem for regular users of the bridge for daily and recreational purposes (including walkers, cyclists and runners) but it will impact negatively on major forthcoming sporting and cultural events such as the ICC World Twenty20 cricket matches, the Robin Hood Marathon and the Riverside Festival. As an example of the major disruption that has already occurred we would recall the closure of the Trent Bridge by the police due to an incident following the last cricket match of the season when spectators were forced to divert via Lady Bay Bridge and Meadow Lane.

We are also concerned about inconsistencies in the information that has been given to the public. For example, we were informed in November 2008 that the bridge was closed because of falling debris; however at no time has the river been closed to river traffic.

Although there has been no public access to the engineers’ report, our understanding is that no major structural work is required such as replacing the cables, and therefore the only work which appears necessary is to repair the decking and repaint the structure.

We understand that both the City and County Councils have already agreed to make financial contributions to the cost of the repairs.

We conclude that it is unreasonable that the work should not be completed within two months and  would urge you to consider a shorter time frame to minimise further disruption. If this is not the case the public should be fully informed as to why not.

Yours sincerely

Hugh McClintock
Chairman, Pedals (Nottingham Cycling Campaign)
162 Musters Road
West Bridgford
Nottingham
NG2 7AA
tel. (0115) 981 6206

on behalf of:
Pedals,
Friends of Victoria Embankment,
Nottingham Civic Society,
Transition West Bridgford,
West Bridgford Local Area Forum

c.c.

Nottingham City Council: Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder, Transport and Area Working,

Nottinghamshire County Council - Councillor Stella Smedley, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways,

Rushcliffe Borough Council: Councillor Neil Clarke

Alan Simpson MP,

Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke, QC, MP


 

Response from Severn Trent Water, January 15, 2009

 

Dear Mr McClintock

Thank you for your letter sent by email to Tony Wray, regarding the plans
for Wilford Suspension Bridge. Tony has asked me to reply on his behalf.

Severn Trent Water fully appreciates and understands the concerns felt by
the local community concerning its plans for Wilford Suspension Bridge in
Nottingham. Since its closure in the summer we have been at pains to keep
people informed about what is happening, and have used our website, press
releases and letters to keep interested parties in the picture.

In July 2008, we were alerted that debris had fallen from Wilford
Suspension Bridge, which is a listed building. Following an inspection, we
took the decision to close the bridge on July 22, 2008 to protect the
health and safety of the general public.

The bridge was subsequently inspected by both our own maintenance engineers
and a structural engineer, and as a result of this inspection, we are
confident that there will be no further instances of falling debris. We
have liaised closely with British Waterways throughout and they are happy
with the steps we have taken.

We then requested a team of professional bridge consulting engineers to
carry out a thorough survey of the bridge, both above and below the water
line. This survey took several months to complete due to the complexity of
the work, and the need to liaise with British Waterways before undertaking
tasks such as below-water level surveys of the bridge foundations.

The survey work was completed at the end of November 2008, and presented to
Severn Trent. The report demonstrated that the bridge is capable of
supporting its own weight but that a range of different works would be
required to ensure the long-term safety of both the bridge users and the
structure itself.

The survey recommendations included:

·Strengthening of the top boom which runs the length of the bridge
·Re-painting the structure with a modern protective paint system
·Replacing the existing timber deck
·Installing anti pigeon measures
·Re-pointing towers and approach structures

In addition, numerous additional minor works were also identified that
require attention.

After examining the report's recommendations, in December, Severn Trent
announced its intention to carry out the substantial repair work required,
and continued its discussions with local authorities, other utility
providers and other stakeholders about its plans.

Work on the bridge is due to start in Spring 2009 and it is hoped that this
will be complete by the end of September 2009. We appreciate that this
means that the bridge will not be open for the public to use during this
period, but would like to reassure people we will carry out the required
work as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We are eager to re-open our
bridge, once it has been fully refurbished.

There has been some pressure from different quarters to re-open the bridge
temporarily, until the major repairs can be carried out. However, after a
meeting between Severn Trent, the city and county council, and specialist
bridge engineers RSI, it was agreed that given the extent of the work
required, that re-opening ahead of complete repairs was neither practical
nor desirable from a health and safety perspective.

I do hope this reassures you that Severn Trent is taking all appropriate
steps to both safeguard the long-term future of our bridge, and
demonstrating a responsible attitude towards the safety of the public.

Yours sincerely

Gill Dickinson
for Severn Trent Water

 


 

Response to Severn Trent Water, January 26, 2009

Dear Mr Wray,

Wilford Suspension Bridge repair and reopening

It is now more than six months since Wilford Suspension Bridge was closed without warning by your company. We of course very much welcomed the announcement before Christmas that you intend to repair the bridge.However, as a result of continuing uncertainty about the schedule for repairing and reopening the bridge, an online petition was begun just over a week ago in order to make your company aware of the extent of the public’s concern. The petition is supported by the following organisations:-

- Pedals (Nottingham Cycling Campaign)
- Friends of Victoria Embankment
- Nottingham Civic Society
- West Bridgford Local Area Forum
- West Bridgford Local Traffic & Transport Group
- Transition West Bridgford

On behalf of these organisations, I will be sending to you tomorrow, with a printed version of this letter, a copy of the first 500 signatories to the petition and the comments they have made. I hope that you will personally read and respond directly to this letter. I am copying the letter to various local news organisations. You may wish to copy your reply to them as well. In any event, it is our intention to publish your response on the Internet.

The number of signatories to the petition gives a clear indication of the major disruption that the bridge’s closure has caused to many different people. The majority of the signatories have given their name and a very large percentage has added their own –individual– comments.

In press releases, Severn Trent plc has claimed that its actions are in the interests of public health and safety. We consider that there is now even more abundant evidence that this claim is defined too narrowly:-

- First, as pointed out by many signatories, the closure of the bridge is not in the interest of public health, especially in terms of the very great need to encourage healthy physical activities like walking, cycling and running.

- Second, again as pointed out by many signatories, the closure of the bridge is jeopardising public safety when looked at more widely. Indeed, the comments make clear that it is not just the safety of cyclists that is being jeopardised but also the safety of pedestrians, including schoolchildren, who are now forced onto the narrow pavements over the Trent Bridge. The risk is likely to increase substantially during major sporting and cultural events in the summer months.

- Finally, you announced in November (3 months after the bridge’s closure) that the bridge had been closed on account of “falling debris” and a bridge inspection had taken place in October. Yet at no time have you attempted to close the river even though falling debris is just as much a danger to the rowers and canoeists who regularly pass under the bridge.You have never posted warnings to river traffic and, to our knowledge, you have never warned the local rowing clubs or the British Canoe Union that there might be a danger of falling debris.

We understand from the most recent press releases that no major structural repairs to the bridge are required. Consequently, we find it quite unacceptable that you have not given a precise start date for repairs to the bridge – I trust I do not need to remind you that the spring ends on June 20th . We find a “hope” of completion in September equally unacceptable. Why are the repairs not already underway and why do they have to take so long to complete? Both the main interested organisations and the wider public need a widely publicised and clear full explanation.

We are, of course, concerned that the repairs are carried out properly and that, in the future, regular maintenance of the bridge takes place in order to prevent any recurrence of the lamentable situation during the last six months. We therefore call upon you to undertake the following without delay:

1. Publish the Engineer’s Report on the bridge so that the recommendations can be verified by independent experts.

2. Publish precise start and finish dates for the repair of the bridge. We would expect the start date to be near the beginning of March, if not earlier. We would also expect the dates to be prominently displayed on both sides of the bridge as well as being published on your website and in local newspapers. This is very important since it has now become even clearer to us, as a result of our most recent campaigning, that many past users of the bridge and other local people, even if they know that it is to be repaired, have no idea of the proposed timetable. We also have noted that your special website pages have not been regularly updated and apparently not at all since Christmas.

3. Review the possibility of completing interim repairs to make the bridge safe, postponing other repairs and painting of the bridge, in order that the bridge can be open throughout the summer months, or at least at weekends or during major local cultural and sporting events. (We understand that such a possibility was discussed with the County and City Councils' experts but have not been given a clear explanation as to why this was not after all considered possible.)

4. Ensure that no unnecessary delays are incurred before reopening the bridge, for example by making suitable provision for the use of the bridge whilst painting takes place.

We look forward to a speedy reply. We will continue collecting signatures to the petition until we have received a satisfactory response.

Yours sincerely,
Hugh McClintock,
Chairman, Pedals (Nottingham Cycling Campaign)

on behalf of:-
- Pedals
- Nottingham Civic Society
- Friends of the Victoria Embankment
- West Bridgford Local Area Forum
- West Bridgford Local Traffic and Transport Group
- Transition West Bridgford

 


 

Response from Severn Trent Water, February 04, 2009

Dear Hugh
 
Thank  you  for  your  email  received, for the attention of Tony Wray, regarding the plans for Wilford Suspension Bridge. Tony has asked me to reply on his behalf.
 
I apologise for the difficulties encountered relating to the closure of Wilford Suspension Bridge and accept that our approach to this issue to date has  fallen short of the expectations of some local residents and customers,  this  was  never  our  intention.  I understand the need to provide  information  about the bridge, the reason for its closure, and our  plans  for  its  repair  and  eventual  re-opening. Whilst we have provided  information  about  what  is  happening,  and  have  used our website,  press  releases and letters to keep interested parties in the picture,  we  recognise  we  could  and  should  have  engaged with the community more effectively and in more detail.
 
In July  2008,  we  were  alerted  that debris had fallen from Wilford Suspension  Bridge, which is a Grade II listed structure. Following an inspection  in  July  2008, it became clear that we needed to close the bridge immediately to ensure the safety of the general public.
 
Following  closure,  we  then  requested  a team of professional bridge consulting engineers to carry out a thorough survey of the bridge, both above and below the water line. This survey has taken several months to complete due to the complexity of the work, and the need to liaise with British  Waterways  before  undertaking tasks such as below-water level surveys of the bridge foundations.
 
The  survey  work was completed at the end of November 2008. Whilst the report  demonstrated  that  the bridge is capable of supporting its own weight it also indicated  that a range of works would be required to deal with a number of different issues to ensure both the immediate and long term safety for both bridge users and the structure itself.
 
The survey recommendations included:
- Reinforcement of main bridge beams
- Replacement of defective structural members and fixings
- Stripping back and replacing protective coating to steelwork
- Replacing the existing timber deck
- Installing anti pigeon measures
- Re-pointing masonry towers and approach structures
 
In addition, numerous  minor  works were also identified that require attention.  In  essence, the bridge being over 100 years old is showing its age and is in need of a major overhaul.
 
We examined the report's recommendations and in December 2008 announced our  intention to carry out the substantial repair work required. Since then  we  have  continued  to  work closely with the local authorities, other utility providers and other stakeholders about our plans.
 
The  design  specification  is  now  in progress and work is planned to start  on site in spring 2009, with the aim of completion by the end of September 2009.
 
Specifically, some comments have been made about delays and the need to be  working  on  the  bridge  immediately.  In response to this I would emphasise that time is needed to complete the necessary design work and that  some  of the key elements of work on the bridge cannot be carried out  until  warmer  ambient  temperatures  are  available in spring and summer.  We  are  considering  how  we  can  do this work as quickly as possible  once we reach the spring. This means that the bridge will not be  open  for  the  public  to  use during the spring/summer period and appreciate  the patience and understanding of local residents whilst we carry out the essential works.
 
There  has  also  been some pressure to re-open the bridge temporarily, until  the  major  repairs can be carried out. We reviewed this in late 2008  at  a  meeting  between  us,  the  City  and County Council's and specialist  bridge  engineers.  The review concluded that the extent of the  work  required,  and  its nature, meant that re-opening the bridge ahead  of  complete  repairs  would  not  be practical because adequate safety  cannot  be  achieved  for  anyone using the bridge prior to the works being carried out.
 
We  are  now  reviewing  how  we keep the community up to date with the programme  of  works  and the timescales involved and once we have more details  on  this  we  will  seek  to  inform  the  local community and interested parties.
 
I  believe  the  above  demonstrates that we are taking all appropriate steps  to  keep, maintain and safeguard the long-term future of Wilford Bridge, thus enabling pedestrians and cyclists to continue to use it in the  future  whilst  demonstrating  in  the  short  term  a  proper and responsible attitude towards the safety of all.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Fraser Pithie
Senior Manager - Operations

 


 

Response from STW to Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP

Wilford Bridge Letter


 

Response from Severn Trent Water, February 11, 2009
Response From STW 11 Feb Page 1

Response From STW 11 Feb Page 2

Response From STW 11 Feb Page 3

 


Response from Severn Trent Water, February 17, 2009

Dear Mr McClintock,

Thanks for the email dated 17 February 2009.

I am pleased that we are establishing a better and more meaningful
exchange than the understandable one that has existed until recently.
The responsibility for that, as stated in my previous correspondence
rests largely with us and from now on we need to do much better and
work alongside the community. I have chased progress on the
noticeboards, this I did yesterday and these are progressing.

I am pleased to help wherever possible with the work you do in keeping
the many members of your organisation informed of matters and to that
end I will ensure that we provide to you key elements of information
and updates as and when they become available over the next several weeks and months.
The use of your website is, I can see from visiting it, a valuable
source of information that many local people clearly rely upon.

I have included the text of my 11 February letter below on this email
as I thought this might help you paste it onto your web page
concerning Wilford Bridge as this provides the latest information and
deals with the specific points you have raised.

Many thanks for your approach and help and I will seek to keep the
communication channels we have discussed open and fully operational

Yours sincerely

Fraser Pithie
Senior Manager - Operations
Severn Trent Water Ltd

 


 

Update letter - 28 April 2009

Dear customer

Wilford Suspension Bridge

As  you  are  a  customer who lives near Wilford Suspension Bridge, I would like to update you about the works we intend to carry out on the structure.

As  you  may  recall,  we closed the bridge in the summer of 2008 following reports  of  debris  falling  from the bridge. We then requested a team of professional  bridge consulting engineers to carry out a thorough survey of
the  bridge,  both  above  and below the water line. This has taken several months  to  complete  due  to  the  complexity  of the work, which included
extensive  inspections,  computer  modelling and analysis, divers' surveys, x-ray analysis of structural elements and laboratory testing.

We  also needed to liaise with British Waterways and other statutory bodies before undertaking  tasks  such  as  below-water  level  surveys  of the
foundations.  This  work  was  completed  at  the end of November 2008.
The survey report demonstrated that the bridge is capable of supporting its own weight.  However,  it  also  indicated  that  a  range  of repairs would be required to ensure the immediate and long term safety of both the structure itself and of any users of the bridge.

The main elements of the planned works include:

·     · Reinforcement of main bridge beams
·       Replacement of defective steel components and fixings
·     · Stripping back and replacing protective coating to steelwork
·       Replacing the existing timber deck
·     · Installing anti pigeon measures
·     · Re-pointing masonry towers and approach structures

In  addition,  numerous  additional  minor  works were also identified that
require  attention.  In  essence,  the bridge, being over 100 years old, is showing its age and is in need of a major overhaul.

We examined the report's recommendations and in December 2008 announced that it was our intention to carry out the substantial repair work required. Since then, we have continued to work closely with your own local authority, other local authorities, other utility providers and local stakeholders, sharing our plans. We are continuing our discussions with all these stakeholder groups to ensure that their needs are, as far as possible, met and the costs and benefits of the restoration project are appropriately balanced. As the project involves investing our customers' money, it is essential that the customer benefits match the costs.

We  are now able to confirm that we plan to start the work on the bridge by mid-May  2009.  I  am  sorry  that the start date is slightly later than we originally  planned and this will cause our aim of completion for
September to  now move to the end of October 2009.  However, we will do all we can to complete the works as soon as possible.

We  would  advise  customers who may live very close to Wilford Bridge that there  will,  at  times,  be  some disruption caused by noise and machinery
access.  Our contractors carrying out the work, North Midland Construction, will  seek  to  minimise  any  such  disruption as far as possible and also liaise appropriately with any customers who are or maybe directly affected.

Should  you  need  to contact the contractor about the site works once they have  begun,  please  telephone  the Site Manager, Matthew Barney, on 07968 766636  between  0800hrs and 1600hrs Monday to Friday. If you have any more general  enquiries about the project, you can write to us at the address on our  letterhead  or  email  us  at wilfordbridge@severntrent.co.uk. For any emergencies  please  contact our 24 hour Customer Operations Service Centre on 0800 783 4444.

Yours sincerely

Fraser Pithie
Senior Operations Manager

 


 

Response from Severn Trent Water, April 29, 2009

Dear Mr McClintock,

Thanks for your email of 21 April 2009.

Your observations concerning the process related to consents is indeed
relevant to where we are concerning the commencement of works on the
bridge.

However, I am pleased to confirm that we have achieved our aim of progress
matters on a number of fronts simultaneously and consequently are planning
to commence works on the bridge by mid May. I am also trying to ensure
that we maintain the level of communication with our customers in the area to
the standard that we delivered more recently.

To this end I have written to approximately 3000 customers situated either
side of Wilford Suspension Bridge as well as all those who have been in
previous correspondence with us with an update and this should be being
delivered by Royal Mail today. Where customers used email they should
receive their update by the same means this morning.

The update sets out that we have had to adjust our time for completion so
we stating a realistic completion date given the fact that some of design,
consent and approvals work has taken two or three weeks longer than
originally anticipated. Accordingly, my update letter will give the end of
October as the planned completion date. Notwithstanding this, I do hope
that whilst we accept a potential delay of a further 3 to 4 weeks is
regrettable I would point to Severn Trent Water's commitment to make an
investment up to £1.5m thus completing the work to a standard that will
enable the local community to enjoy the amenity of the bridge for many
years to come.

In summary, work on the bridge should be commencing within the next two or
three weeks and whilst we have adjusted the completion date to end of
October we will be working closely with the contractors to do all we can
to complete the work as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Fraser Pithie
Senior Operations Manager
Severn Trent Water Ltd

 


 

Response from Severn Trent Water, July 10, 2009

Dear Mr McClintock,

Thank you for your email dated 8 July 2009 requesting an update on the progress of work on Wilford Suspension Bridge.

Things are progressing well and work is now substantially underway on the first section of the main span. Extended working hours and weekend working have been initiated as a matter of routine.  Changes in the works specification, established from lessons learned on site so far, may enable us to complete the works a little earlier and therefore before the end of October, it's not possible to confirm this yet but we will have a firmer view within a few more weeks.

As part of our project communications plan, we had decided to make an interim progress update.  The next site progress meeting is due on the 4th  August, at which time there should be greater confidence in the forecast completion date.  We will therefore be planning  a letter drop with as much detail on progress as possible. This is likely to be around mid to late August which will be at  around the mid point of the site works.

Thank you for raising the point over the website, I am sorry that we have not updated the information page with progress details since work started on the bridge, this will be carried out within the next few days and we will seek to keep it updated more regularly.

I hope the foregoing is helpful.

Yours sincerely

Fraser Pithie
Senior Operations Manager
Severn Trent Water Ltd
 

 


 

Letter to Severn Trent Water 18th August

Dear Mr. Pithie
 
When we were last in touch, in July, you said that repair work on the Wilford Suspension Bridge was progressing well, and that there was some chance now of the work being completed a bit ahead of schedule. I think you also said that you would not know until sometime in August whether this was in fact likely. I therefore wondered whether or not there was any fresh news by now please?
 
I have also been asked what plans there are to publicise the reopening of the bridge and for coordinated efforts on both sides of the Trent by the City and County Councils to improve signing of the main routes to and from it. We do also hope that this is in hand.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Hugh McClintock
Chairman, Pedals

 


 

Response from Severn Trent Water 19th August

Dear Mr McClintock,

Thank you for your email.

As work has progressed through August so far we have been able to confirm and adjust the results of the comprehensive survey work done ahead of works commencement. There is always a danger with work of this nature that one is on schedule or even gets ahead of schedule only to find problems or experience setbacks that then change the outlook. We are on target to complete the analysis of works to date and findings arising from them. Consequently, I have requested that this is brought together and presented to me within the next ten days.

Following this it will be my intention to review the situation and provide an update to you, the local relevant local authorities and also to update the local community through an update leaflet that we will circulate to homes. My aim is for the information to be available to you by no later than Friday 4th September

I do appreciate the understanding being shown by all whilst we undertake the bridge restoration work and the need for us to complete the works as soon as we can. However, my overriding aim has to be the completion of the work to a standard that is safe, acceptable and above all sustainable for several generations to come thus avoiding the need for future prolonged bridge closures in the future. I am confident that our engineers and contractor are jointly doing that and thus I wait for their update within the next few days as already explained.

On the issues of re-opening arrangements and signing; we do recognise both of these items and will, of course, through co-operation and involvement with local authorities address both.

Thanks for your continued interest and for keeping in contact

Yours sincerely

Fraser Pithie
Senior Operations Manager
Severn Trent Water Ltd

 

Please spread the word to all cycllists, walkers, runnners and anyone else who can come along and take part in the reopening calvacade, starting from both sides of the Trent!
 

 

Very many thanks to all of you for your support over the last 19 months for the campaign to get the Suspension Bridge open again and particular thanks to those of you who were able to brave the cold weather and get along to the opening ceremony at lunchtime today, for which we had a very good turnout, on both sides of the Trent.
 
True to form Severn Trent kept us waiting yet again as Fraser Pithie, their Director of Operations, got delayed on the way, and my cutting the tape therefore did not go ahead until about 15-20 minutes after it should have!
 
To save everyone from getting completely frozen I therefore cut short my intended speech, including my very warm thanks to all campaign supporters, to the County and City Councils for their financial support, and to Severn Trent for finally getting the work done after a whole lot of ups and downs that continued until the last few days! They clearly recognise now that they were very remiss at the time of closure in not appreciating the strength of feelings locally about the bridge being out of action!
 
To compensate for the very long wait we at least have some very worthwhile improvements including not only repainting on what should be much more rust- and weather-proof paint but also much smoother decking across the bridge, and more conspicuous and better space bollards at both ends which will make it much easier to negotiate by bike trailers and wheelchairs.
 
Regular inspection and maintenance should now get much more attention making it much less likely, we hope, that the bridge will ever need to be closed again, or at least for anything like as long as in this very sorry saga.
 
Had I not had to cut down my speech I would have liked to have included a special tribute to Roland Backhouse in particular. Indeed, I was going to start with a confession because, when the bridge first closed late in July 2008, I at first found it very difficult to focus on this shock decision and its implications, because, as some of you will know, I was then just 10 days or so into a long rail trip from Nottingham to Central Asia and back with my wife. I forget now whether it was in Tehran or Tashkent that I first got Roland's email with the news of the bridge closure and asking what Pedals was doing about it! Although I gave him a few suggestions for people to liaise with it was not really, I must admit, until after my return in early September that we really started to get to grips with the campaign! I know that quite a few people think that Severn Trent deliberately waited to close the bridge until they knew that I was well out of the way!!
 
My main feeling this morning, as well as excitement at the reopening finally happening, and the very impressive turnout from such a wide range of people, was to feel the need to pinch myself that it was now a reality!
 
However, we in Pedals certainly will not be resting on our laurels and the focus now, with other organisations such as the Nottingham Civic Society etc., is to campaign to establish a much more secure status for the right of way over the bridge, for cyclists and pedestrians.
 
We also want, together with several other West Bridgford-based organisations, to see a series of further improvements on the connecting paths on the south bank of the Trent, including proper lighting on the path past Rivermead Flats to Wilford, and rehabilitation of the much neglected route through to the NWSC at Holme Pierrepont from Trent Bridge and Trentside. These could add to the very popular Big Track network of canal- and riverside paths north of the Trent which have seen much recent improvement as well as to link in with the further development of Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 15 across the south of the county between Newark and Castle Donington etc.
 
We seem to have had a lot of photographers along to the reopening including one from the Evening Post and a bunch of student journalists from Nottm Trent University, as well as some freelancers. John Holmes from BBC Radio Nottingham, himself a keen cyclist who has sorely missed the bridge, came along and did some recordings which he then used on his afternoon show with a very enthusiastic report. He also then mentioned that there are already some pictures of the reopening on their website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0069nc7
 
If anyone else took photos and can send me copies that would be very welcome please. We want to have a good selection to put soon on the Pedals website.
 
Hugh

 

Dear Mr. Wray
 
Over the last few days since Friday's reopening of the Wilford Suspension Bridge I have had many expressions of appreciation for all your efforts in repairing and reopening the bridge and for the distinct improvements made as part of this, especially the decking and spacing of the bollards as well as the complete repainting.
 
It has also be very good to see so many different people using the Bridge again and clearly very much enjoying be able to do so, even with the weather still being still so chilly! I have also noticed lots of people lingering on or near the bridge to admire the changes.
 
On behalf of all those involved in the campaign to reopen the Bridge please convey our warmest thanks and appreciation to all those involved in the project and also to your various stakeholders whose role was also vital.
 
Yours sincerely, 
Hugh McClintock
Chairman, Pedals (Nottingham Cycling Campaign)
162 Musters Road
West Bridgford
Nottingham
NG2 7AA"
and response from Mr. Wray:
"Dear Mr McClintock,

We are delighted that we have been able, along with others, to restore the amenity provided by the bridge.  I know it was not a straightforward accomplishment but I hope that we have demonstrated to you our genuine committment to achieve the right outcome.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and letting me know how the bridge is once again back in productive use.

Best Regards

Tony Wray
CEO Severn Trent"

Hugh McClintock (Chairman, Pedals) shaking hands with Fraser Pithie, Director of Operations,
Severn Trent Water after the reopening ceremony on Friday 12 February 2010.

 

Dear Mr. Wray,
Over the last few days since Friday's reopening of the Wilford Suspension Bridge I have had many expressions of appreciation for all your efforts in repairing and reopening the bridge and for the distinct improvements made as part of this, especially the decking and spacing of the bollards as well as the complete repainting.
 
It has also be very good to see so many different people using the Bridge again and clearly very much enjoying be able to do so, even with the weather still being still so chilly! I have also noticed lots of people lingering on or near the bridge to admire the changes.
 
On behalf of all those involved in the campaign to reopen the Bridge please convey our warmest thanks and appreciation to all those involved in the project and also to your various stakeholders whose role was also vital.
 
Yours sincerely, 
Hugh McClintock
Chairman, Pedals (Nottingham Cycling Campaign)
162 Musters Road
West Bridgford
Nottingham
NG2 7AA
and reply from Mr. Wray, CEO, Severn Trent Water:
"Dear Mr McClintock,

We are delighted that we have been able, along with others, to restore the amenity provided by the bridge.  I know it was not a straightforward accomplishment but I hope that we have demonstrated to you our genuine committment to achieve the right outcome.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and letting me know how the bridge is once again back in productive use.

Best Regards
Tony Wray
CEO Severn Trent

 

Dear Mr McClintock,

We are delighted that we have been able, along with others, to restore the amenity provided by the bridge.  I know it was not a straightforward accomplishment but I hope that we have demonstrated to you our genuine committment to achieve the right outcome.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and letting me know how the bridge is once again back in productive use.

Best Regards

Tony Wray
CEO Severn Trent

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