The installation of the bridge in the hamlet of Bagnor was undertaken by ECS Engineering Services, which regularly works with the Environment Agency, and was mindful of protecting the quintessentially English ambience of the nearby countryside.
“This was a fantastic contract for ECS, but there was a lot to consider about the site and its surrounding area,” says Contract Manager Dave Searle. “We made sure we met with the locals and discussed options with them. The idea was to make them feel part of the project and to demonstrate that what we were doing would protect their landscape and lifestyle for years to come.”
The previous bridge had reached the end of its working life, so was in need of replacement. It spanned a small watercourse and was generally considered unobtrusive in the landscape by the locals and visitors.
“It’s the sort of feature that people can walk past every day and barely notice,” comments David. “But it is a vital part of the local fabric and the villagers were naturally concerned when they heard it was to be replaced.”
ECS Engineering Services has a well-earned reputation for delivering high quality, reliable and cost-effective engineering solutions. It specialises in bespoke design and construction of water, energy and environmental processing and management projects and, while it is perhaps best-known for major projects, each year it brings the same levels of expertise, commitment and sensitivity to many smaller jobs.
“We are recognised as leaders in the use of FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) solutions for bridges, but instantly realised that would not be appropriate for Bagnor,” says Dave. “The aesthetics would have not been in keeping with the local area and installation would require the use of some fairly heavy machinery that could damage the surrounding ground, trees and ecology. Instead we settled on a solution that would appear to be a like-for-like replacement, but which would in fact be an improvement on the existing bridge design.”
An initial survey showed that the ground was extremely boggy but that the watercourse was not prone to excessive flooding. The existing timber bridge and its concrete footings were showing their age but were well designed for the duties expected of them. It was therefore decided to rebuild the footings to the same design and keep the same feel for the bridge itself.
However, ECS realised that there was an opportunity to deploy some technical innovations and improve the overall solution. Instead of timber, the bridge was constructed using KLP, a high-performance engineering material made from recycled plastic. Manufactured by Lankhorst Mouldings, KLP is a thick-walled injection moulding that can be either hollow or reinforced with a steel core.
There are many advantages to bridges made from KLP as they are maintenance free, sustainable, durable and easy to clean. KLP has an expected technical lifetime of at least 50 years and painting is no longer an issue, according to Lankhorst. Compared to wood, KLP plastic is extremely safe: the material does not splinter and has up to twice the anti-slip properties of wood, especially in wet weather or damp environments.
Dave recalls: “Installation of the bridge took only a couple of days and was largely a manual process. We did not need any lifting equipment or other heavy plant; all the component parts were light enough to be carried into position. It was all fairly quick and caused so little disruption that most of the villagers did not even know we were there.”
The bridge leads only to the pumping station and is not a public right of way, so usage levels are low, although there is the occasional need to bring grass mowers and other light machinery across it. However, the design brief also called for ECS to replace the fabricated steel security gate on the bridge, which was done at the same time as the bridge installation.
“This may have been a small job, but it was a very satisfying one. The local residents are very happy, while our use of innovative materials means they are less likely to be disturbed by maintenance crews in the future and, of course, the Environment Agency will appreciate its long life,” concludes Dave.
Image 1: The installation of the KLP plastic bridge in the hamlet of Bagnor was undertaken by ECS Engineering Services, which regularly works with the Environment Agency.
Image 2: ECS Engineering Services specialises in bespoke design and construction of water, energy and environmental processing and management projects.
ECS Engineering Services has over 30 years experience in delivering high quality, reliable and cost effective engineering solutions, specialising in bespoke design and construction of water, energy and environmental processing and management projects.
In conjunction with key supply partners, ECS has the expertise and capacity to design and install a wide range of water control engineering projects. With in-house fabrication services, which have CE Marking approval to EXC4, well equipped and highly skilled engineers can also complete structural steelwork, bespoke fabrication work and access metalwork to the highest standard.
With a complete range of site services available, ECS offers a full turnkey project managed service for mechanical and electrical installations including managing civils contractors and supplying pipework, control and automation work to ensure that every installation is installed and commissioned to the highest standard. Existing clients include the majority of the UK Water Utility companies, Government Agencies and Internal Drainage Boards.
Tel: +44 (0)1905 917477
Address: Progress House, Midland Road, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR5 1AQ, United KingdomReader Contact:
ECS Engineering Services: Steve Crapper
Tel: +44 (0)1773 860001
Address: Fulwood Road South, Sutton-In-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, NG17 2JZ, United Kingdom