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Deptford bridge swings into action

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n1deptfordSpanning Deptford Creek close to its confluence with the River Thames in south London, a new cable stayed swing bridge will provide unbroken pedestrian access to the capital’s long distance riverside Thames Path when it officially opens this month.

Forming part of a Galliard Homes’ residential development, the bridge’s opening system allows barges to access a ready-mix batching plant located up Deptford Creek.

“The design of the bridge had to incorporate delivering better public access to the river while not interfering with navigation on the Creek,” explains David Knight, Senior Engineer at Flint & Neill.

“The best option was a swing bridge fabricated from steel for its lightness which then minimised the size of the M&E equipment.”

It has a sculptural form, said to be suggestive of sailing vessels with folded steel plates that conceal a short 9m backspan containing 120t of steel counterweight. This balances the 44m-long main span as it opens.

The span is opened or driven by four electrical drive motors on a slewing ring bearing system that is more commonly seen on tower cranes.

The structure is predominantly fabricated from weathering steel that negates the requirement for any future internal repainting.

S H Structures fabricated, supplied and erected the steelwork for the job. As the site was accessed through an existing housing scheme and space was at a premium, a lot of planning was needed to work out the best construction sequence as well as the size of steel elements that could be manoeuvred and transported on to site.

“We fabricated and delivered the bridge deck to site in three main sections,” explains Dave Perry, S H Structures Contracts Manager. “These were transportable by road albeit with a police escort through London.”

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