Rapid progress in bridge project


Despite difficult site conditions with the ongoing COVID-19 situation and severe flooding in the area earlier this year, the Hams Way Footbridge in Worcester in England recently reached a major project milestone with the installation of the main span.

The main span of the new Hams Way Footbridge was installed this month and completion is expected in November 2020. The bridge is one of several new projects in this region of Worcestershire, England with the overarching objective being to reduce congestion and improve sustainable transport links around Worcester.

The site is politically, environmentally and historically sensitive explains Ben Curry, Principal Engineer for COWI and Project Manager for the scheme:

“Traffic congestion, flooding, endangered species, and nearby historical monuments are all key considerations. The challenge for the design team was to meet Worcestershire County Council’s aspiration for a recognisable ‘gateway’ structure, while balancing the wishes of stakeholders including Historic England and the Environment Agency.”

The construction strategy for the main span was to deliver the bridge in smaller elements and weld these together in a site welding compound adjacent to its final position. The footbridge was lifted onto a self-propelled modular transporter and taken from the site compound into its final position on the piers. This manoeuvre, although extremely complex, took less than 15 minutes to complete. This is testament to the preparation of the site team and rigorous planning from all parties.

Strategically important

The bridge replaces a pedestrian level crossing as part of the strategically important Worcester Southern Link Road Phase 4 project. The A4440 is one of Worcester's busiest roads carrying more than 30,000 vehicles each day.

Finn Graham, Senior Engineer for COWI and lead designer of the bridge, adds:

"One of the main focus points during the design stage of the bridge was in maintaining the rich architectural detailing. The aim was to design a structure that the user would enjoy crossing for many years to come. This required a forward-thinking and collaborative process involving all members of the design and construction teams to achieve. Having seen the final product on site it's something I'm immensely proud to have been a part of."

The bridge maintains connectivity of the existing walking and cycle network at Powick roundabout and segregates users from the busy road improving safety and user experience.

Key facts about the bridge

  • Although the main span across the road is the most visible part, 85% of the total length of the bridge is in the approach ramps
  • The bridge rises 8m above the floodplain to provide the required clearance for high vehicles to pass underneath. The ramps are designed to let water flow underneath during floods
  • The superstructure is assembled using over 6km of welds and 3,000 high-strength friction grip bolts
  • The total weight of the balustrade is greater than the weight of the whole main span
  • The ramp columns are rectangular rather than square, providing greater transverse stiffness to prevent lateral vibrations of the deck as people walk on the deck
  • Lighting of the deck is at ankle level to minimise the impact on wildlife and to reduce glare for motorists

Get in contact

Emma Wahlberg-Melvig
Head of Communication, Business Line International
Communication, Denmark

Tel: +45 56403896