BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘civil engineering’

#365daysofbiking A heritage of bridge-building?

August 9th – Back in Telford following morning rain, the new footbridge linking the railway station with the town centre seems to be confused about it’s role: is it a swimming pool or a ‘State of the art facility any town should be proud of’ as one fan of this bizarrely dysfunctional bit of civil engineering recently chided me on Twitter.

In recent weeks, someone has drilled holes in the bridge deck to drain the water. They just clog up and it still floods.

And besides, that water just swamps the platform below.

This bridge is an awful design and has no rainwater control measures whatsoever. And it cost 10 million quid.

Telford, your emperor is stark, bollock naked.

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#365daysofbiking A sign of failure


February 25th – Telford station, Monday morning.

I notice we now have an ‘Official Procedure’ for when the lift on the new pedestrian bridge breaks down.

‘Complimentary’ taxis will run the stranded passengers from one side of the station to the other.

If you spend nine million pounds on a new bridge to fix disability access issues, then omit a ramp and replace it with an unreliable lift meaning punters can become stranded if it breaks – you have failed as a designer and actually made the problem you set out to solve worse.

This is an idiotic disgrace. Those that allowed this to happen should be ashamed.

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#365daysofbiking Surface tension

February 20th – As I headed home to Brownhills on the canal, my attention was snagged by the noise from the Lindon Road, and then I remembered that it was being resurfaced overnight.

With my love of machinery, I couldn’t resist taking a look.

The dust, noise and spectacle were fascinating, and I love how the road surface is recycled into new tarmac.

The operation is a well-practiced, highly co-ordinated ballet of trucks, machines and people each with their own task.

A captivating sight.

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#365daysofbiking Hanging around

December 19th – Spotted high above the street, steel erectors chat and dangle whilst working on the new Primark in Birmingham, seemingly oblivious to life below, and completely unaware of the fear such feats inspire in many of their audience.

The new store is what used to be the Pavillions shopping mall, and the conversion symbolises the malaise in these 80s temples to consumerism – so far Birminham has lost 4 – The Pavillions, City Plaza, Paradise Forum and Fletchers Walk. I find this shift in retail thinking interesting.

The aerial daredevils had safety gear, and were confident and clearly competent. But the lad dangling from the sliding support in the C channel: Looking at how that’s fixed, that’s a lot of confidence in someone else’s mechanical engineering skills.

My respect and best wishes to them. I respect anyone who can work at heights.

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#365daysofbiking Endless rain

December 16th – Delivering Christmas cards in Chasetown, the light rain turned to a downpour, and although the Headquarters of Chasetown Civil Engineering and the nearby pub The Uxbridge looked beautiful with their lights reflected on wet tarmac, the rain had me low.

I tried long exposure photography on the Chasetown Bypass footbridge, but the weather was determined to wreck my plans.

I returned home wet, cold and despondent. This time last year, I think we had snow. Which at least is fun.

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#365daysofbiking The Crossing:

December 13th – A bright, glass hard, cold day saw me in Telford mid-morning, and in the week or two I haven’t been here, the new footbridge has opened.

Man, is it a curate’s egg.

First thing is, someone clearly booked the possessions and plant to remove the old bridge for a fixed date, and the new one had to open. Regardless. So it’s not in even a nearly finished state. Brick cladding is still being laid. The access ramp to the cycleway on the Priorslee side is still being built. Bits of it haven’t been surfaced properly or at all. Workmen still mingle with commuters. It’s a bloody mess if I’m honest.

The bridge itself is an interesting, open construction that’s light and airy. It makes the journey between platforms one hell of a lot shorter. The lifts are welcome. It feels stable and the thing seems to be a nice, rigid design.

But there’s a huge, massive, glaring issue.

There is no ramp access to the Shrewsbury side of the station. So wheelies and those not able to use steps are confined to the lift. If that isn’t working, someone alighting here from Brum or Wolves will be stranded on a platform next to a 6 lane road with no means to cross it. There is no simple way around.

I can’t overstate how bad this is if it’s the final design.

If the bridge does not eventually provide ramp access to the Shrewsbury platform, then it will have failed in its primary objective – to make life easier for those that found the old ramp too steep. The designers will have spent 10 million quid making the use of this station for those with limited mobility much more of a gamble.

I hope I’m wrong and a ramp is sorted. If not, the council and Network Rail really need to rethink this urgently.

The bridge is nice, but too reliant on lifts, and at the moment is very much unfinished. Open too soon, and at the moment, looking critically flawed.

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#365daysofbiking An impressive span:

September 17th – At Telford, a major step in the contstruction of the new station footbridge has been taken – the deck of the main span over the ring road adjacent has been lifted into place. It’s huge.

I watched it grow from a skeletal form on the central reservation of the road system, to see it glazed clad and wired, and now it spans the roadway in parallel with the facility it is to replace.

As a design, I’m ambivalent, but it will be a much nicer, convenient thing to use. But there’s a long, long way to go yet.

At least it provided the morning commuters with an interesting spectacle.

#365daysofbiking The Crane life:

September 12th: My first trip to Telford in several weeks and the new station footbridge is making steady progress. The ring road is now closed under the bridge, and. a large crane is being assembled, presumably to lift the massive main deck into place from it’s construction point on an adjacent verge.

A queue of HGVs and machines lines up down the empty roadway. People discuss, Marshall and prepare. This is clearly to be one heck of an operation.

The rest of the project progresses: Brickwork is going up, lift machinery is taking form in the assembled bridge piers and lots of ancillary pathways and steelwork are moving into place or emerging.

This is going to be one to watch.

August 13th – A brighter day when the morning got going and I found myself visiting Telford feeling better, even if my stomach was still uncomfortable.

The footbridge project is progressing well but there still seems to be an awful lot to do: No discernible structural assembly of the lifts yet, and the access point on the west side seems miles off completion yet, although in the way these things generally do, it’ll probably come together very quickly in the end.

Interesting to note the main span mainly constructed now, and it’ll be lifted in one piece onto the piers. I’d be interested to see if that ripples the roof skin.

At the station end – which this construction is already dwarfing – there are to large, green service cabinets in position by the steps. Perhaps it’s me, but they look really, really incongruous.

This gets more and more fascinating every time I visit.

July 26th – At Telford, the new footbridge at the station continues to take shape. Steel is being erected, steps and glazing are being added and lifts seem to be going in too. 

There are now five distinct building sites that make up this construction. Getting to the right one to start work – across a railway, a major dual carriageway and slip roads – can’t be much fun!