07 May 2011

Worcestershire Bridges: 8. Upton-upon-Severn Marina Footbridge

This is the last of the current trio of bridges from Worcestershire, and it's the most modest of the set.

When a new marina was built at Upton-upon-Severn, it resulted in the lengthy of an existing footpath running alongside the River Severn. The inlet entrance to the marina passed directly across the line of the footpath. Following protests, the footpath was reinstated, with the aid of a short timber footbridge across the marina entrance.

It's essentially a simple structure, although with peculiar echoes of the main highway bridge in the same town.

It's a three-span bridge with an arched profile, as is the case with the Upton-upon-Severn bridge. It has two timber beams along each edge, which behave as continuous girders rather than via any arching action. Indeed, there appear to be half-joints in the timber beams, which should be visible in the photos if you look closely. For a bridge of this short a span, these are essentially unnecessary.

The main beams support simple plank decking, and the timber balustrade is simply bolted to the outside face of the main beams. The bridge deck sits on two timber trestle piers.

Is it pretty? Not especially. Ingenious? No, I wouldn't say so.

Timber bridges remain rare throughout the UK, largely due to a lack of familiarity with their design amongst engineers reared on steel and concrete, and indeed, I haven't been able to identify who designed or built this bridge. It would be nice to see more of them, albeit without the unnecessarily deep beams used here.

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