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Bath's listed Victoria Bridge re-opens

27th January 2015

The newly refurbished Victoria Bridge, a Grade II* listed suspension bridge which spans the River Avon in Bath, has been officially opened by Bath and Northeast Somerset Council.

Capita provided project management, cost management and CDM co-ordinator services on the £3.5m scheme which comprised securing and reconstructing the historic structure.

Built in 1836 to a design by James Dredge – Bath resident, brewer and bridge builder – Victoria Bridge was the first of over fifty ‘taper’ suspension bridges to be built worldwide, and is one of only a handful remaining today.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the project, which was delivered on time and under budget, was the fact that traffic over the bridge has remained uninterrupted for over 90% of the construction period, even though the historic superstructure has had to be completely dismantled, refurbished and reassembled around the  public access route. That flexibility was made possible by the use of some innovative construction methods by the Council’s contractor and by the installation of a  truss early in the overall three and half year project programme, which secured the bridge and acted as a temporary public access route.

Much research work was undertaken as part of the project to understand the history and context of the bridge and the life and role of its designer. This gradually uncovered an enormous of amount of previously unknown information about the Bath brewer and engineer, including details of over 50 of his bridges in the UK and overseas (from South America to India), his ideas for the Clifton Suspension Bridge and his family history in Bath and Wiltshire. This incredible set of over 1,500 documents has recently been deposited in the Bath Record Office and is available for the public to view.

Ruth Garner, Principal Adviser for Heritage at Risk for English Heritage in the South West, said: "Bath's Grade II* listed Victoria Bridge is an extraordinary survival of one of Dredge's early suspension bridges which has now been saved for future generations.  We were pleased to have been able to support to Bath & North East Somerset Council on this successful refurbishment project and, as a result of the work, have been able to remove Victoria Bridge from our Heritage at Risk Register."

Victoria Bridge is one of a number of bridge projects that have been project managed by Capita’s Bristol office during the last four years for Bath and Northeast Somerset Council.

* Nigel and Stewart are relatives of James Dredge who we traced through our extensive historical research work.

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