Bencoolen Bridge, Bude

Background

Bencoolen Bridge is situated on Bencoolen Road in Bude adjacent to The Crescent car park and Visitor and Tourist Information Centre and carries the coastal road between Bude and Widemouth Bay over the River Neet.  The bridge was built in 1957 and is a three span structure; the two outer spans are cast in-situ concrete and the central span is constructed from reinforced pre-stressed concrete beams tied across the deck by tensioned steel bars.  The decks are supported on two solid reinforced concrete piers that run continuously from the upstream to the downstream side of the bridge.

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The bridge is not only a transportation link but forms part of the Environment Agency’s flood defence for the area and also carries a large number of services ranging from water and gas mains to fibre optic telecommunication cables.

The bridge is in poor condition which is mainly due to being regularly flooded with sea water and subjected to coastal waves.  Additionally, the concrete and steel reinforcement is of a lower quality than is permitted by current standards.  Overall, the condition of the bridge has deteriorated to such an extent that whole life cost analysis has concluded that it is more cost effective to replace the bridge instead of carrying out on-going maintenance repairs that would be ineffective in the long term.

Please follow the links to see the constraints on design and how we have engaged with the public:

The advanced works have been implemented to shorten the duration of the main programme of works. These are to take place between 30 January 2012 and 30 March 2012 and will entail the piling for the foundations and the construction pads to accommodate the temporary bridge , installation of ducting for the new road layout, the felling of one of the trees and investigations into service locations.  The works in the highway corridor have been programmed to avoid the half term although they will continue on the riverbanks.  Completing these advanced works has the benefit of undertaking some of the more disruptive work in a quieter period of year.

The main bridge replacement works are planned to take place in September 2012 and last for a period of approximately 14 months.  The scheme will also include the provision of a new crossing on Bencoolen Road near the children’s playground entrance.  Two-way traffic flows will be maintained by means of a temporary bridge with an external cantilevered footway on the upstream side of the existing bridge.

The design and the construction programme are currently being developed in close consultation with the Environment Agency to ensure that the impacts on the river are kept to a minimum and ensuring that flood defences are maintained at all times.

Please follow the link to view images of the current bridge and artist's impressions of how the new bridge will look after construction is complete: