Bridge Engineer's Blog

All of these updates can be found in the News section of our website. Here we collect together those items from the Bridge Engineer’s Blog that relate specifically to the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project.

The river wall: an overlooked feature

Of all the structures that the Rochester Bridge Trust owns and maintains, you’d be forgiven for not including the words ‘river wall’ on the list. While a bridge is an… read more →

Staying safe when installing scaffolding

Anyone passing on or near Rochester’s bridges recently will have noticed an array of scaffolding hiding parts of the structures from view. Indeed, this web page has already explained encapsulation, so even remote readers will have seen the photos. It’s been installed by Alltask, a scaffolding, insulation and asbestos management specialist. The firm works for […]

Keeping the bridges open to pedestrians

Previously, we’ve talked about traffic management and the importance of keeping road users safe as they travel through the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project. However road users is a much broader term than most people would assume and is not confined to those on the carriageway – it refers to all ‘traffic’, including pedestrians. For centuries […]

Double donation for construction charity

Wellbeing in the workplace has been given an early Christmas present thanks to a double donation.  FM Conway, Lead Contractor on the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project, agreed to donate one pound to the Lighthouse Club, The Construction Industry Charity, for every positive intervention to occur on the project. This money is then being match-funded by […]

Keeping a lid on noise

Everyone involved in the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project is committed to showing consideration to the community, and one of the ways we are doing this is by taking measures to… read more →

Making light of future work with LEDs

This Bridge Engineer’s Blog has shared a number of posts about lighting. We’ve told you about lighting designs and temperature, about the work being done to create the lighting, we’ve even shared the history of lighting on the bridge. So why are we so excited about it? In short, the lighting works are a major […]

Historic charity recognised for commitment to modern construction

An ancient charity has been recognised for its work in improving the image of the modern construction industry. The Rochester Bridge Trust, which has owned and maintained bridges at Rochester… read more →

Steelwork gives a glimpse of history

As work continues on the Old Bridge, details that are normally hidden from view are being revealed and help tell a story about the structure’s history. Visible from the scaffolding are the steel girders of the underdeck, and on some of them is the wording “Cargo – Fleet –England”, which marks them as being from […]

Visualising the future

A modern tool that has proved invaluable during the planning and design of the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project is the ability to create 3D visualisations. As you can imagine, we… read more →

Working to create new heritage lighting

As part of the preparations for the Rochester Bridges Refurbishment Project we are working on improvements to the heritage lighting on the Old Bridge, Strood Esplanade and Rochester Esplanade. We’ve… read more →

Encapsulating the bridges for safety

When looking at the bridges from the riverside, people have a good view of the length of the Old Bridge, part of which is currently covered in vinyl sheeting. This may look like a convenient place for us to display our logos, but it’s actually got a much more practical use. Known as ‘encapsulation’ the […]

Filling the void – a history of the Rochester Esplanade lavatories

The Rochester Bridge Trust can now confirm the void left by the disused lavatories under Rochester Esplanade has been filled. When we have previously shared information about that part of the Esplanade there has been a lot of interest from the public so this Bridge Engineer’s Blog aims to set out more about its history. […]

The Service Bridge, an update

While the upstream lane of the New Bridge has been closed, a major refurbishment has been undertaken on the Service Bridge. This separate bridge supports all the pipes and cables… read more →

Refurbishing the New Bridge, an update

As we prepare to slightly adjust the temporary layout of the New Bridge, here’s an update on progress to date.  The downstream footway and cycleway were removed temporarily so that… read more →

Illuminating historical travel

Do you know what’s missing from most of the historic paintings of Rochester Bridge? Well, not missing as such, more that it’s a thing we take for granted, but that has actually only been a provided for a very small percentage of the crossing’s history. A bridge has stood at Rochester since around 43AD, but […]

Hay for an historic health and safety notice

One of the (we think many) things that makes the Rochester Bridge Trust special is its adherence to tradition. There has been an unbroken chain of Senior Wardens since 1383;… read more →

The underdeck – an introduction

While there’s so much activity going on above the bridges, it can be easy to miss the fact there’s also a lot going on underneath. The more observant among you will have noticed areas of scaffolding poking up by the side of the Old Bridge, and sticking out from underneath, so what are we actually […]

Right turn closure off Rochester’s New Bridge

Motorists are advised there is to be a temporary closure of the right turn from the New Bridge onto Rochester Esplanade. The traffic management will begin with a series of… read more →

Refurbishing the Service Bridge

As refurbishment work progresses on the New Bridge, the focus of activities has also turned to the Service Bridge. A 2015 Principal Inspection of the bridge – which means the engineers were within touching distance of the whole structure to log any maintenance issues – revealed some definite areas of work that could be carried […]

Introducing the Service Bridge

Did you know the Rochester Bridge Trust owns and maintains three bridges between Rochester and Strood? The Old Bridge and the New Bridge are the two crossings everyone recognises, and running in between them is a much smaller but independent structure: the Service Bridge. You could be forgiven for having missed it because this crossing […]

Overnight road closures in Strood

Motorists are advised that closures of Strood High Street for Medway Council’s works will lead to an effective closure of Rochester’s bridges overnight this weekend. Medway Council’s contractor will be closing Strood High Street between Commercial Road/Station Road and Canal Road overnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 26-28th July, between the hours of 8pm and […]

Intermittent lane restrictions on Rochester’s Old Bridge

Motorists are advised there will be temporary single lane closures on the Old Bridge at Rochester overnight on Friday and Saturday nights from Friday, 12th July. The works are part of the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project, and are to enable the delivery of materials to support the underdeck works. These will be carried out by […]

The Third Lane

When the New Bridge was officially opened on 15th April 1970 – by Princess Margaret – it was built to have three lanes, the roadway we use today has two and a bit. This is because of the results of a 1990s assessment by the then Bridge Engineer, which used the safety standards of the time […]

Lane restrictions on Rochester’s New Bridge

Motorists are advised there will be temporary single lane closures on the New Bridge at Rochester overnight for four nights from Monday, 17th June. The works are part of the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project, and are to enable the removal of the final sections of a redundant sewer pipe. This will be carried out by […]

Lane restrictions on Rochester’s New Bridge

Motorists are advised there will be a temporary single lane closure on the New Bridge at Rochester overnight on Monday, 3rd June. The works are part of the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project, and are to enable the extension of the upstream protection barrier at the Strood end of the crossing. This will be carried out […]

Digging up Rochester Esplanade – an introduction

Located next to a medieval Bridge Chapel and a Norman Castle, it’s easy to forget that Rochester Esplanade near the end of Rochester Bridge is a relatively new construction. The area of Esplanade between the bridges and just beyond the entrance to Rochester Castle is owned by the Rochester Bridge Trust. The medieval crossing was […]

Modernising the New Bridge – parapet and lighting works

As many travellers will have noticed, there’s a temporary road layout on the New Bridge. The layout of the bridge has been adjusted to remove the footway and cycle lane temporarily, shifting the two traffic lanes closer to the railway bridge. This enables work to be carried out on the upstream side of the New […]

Introducing the Project Manager and The Contractor

The Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project is an 18-month scheme to refurbish the three bridges owned by the Rochester Bridge Trust. The work is paid for by the Trust – no funding comes from the public purse – and has been planned as an additional overhaul to complement the routine maintenance that is carried out on […]

Temporary road layout for New Bridge

The New Bridge at Rochester is to be given a temporary road layout to facilitate the safety of staff and travellers during the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project. The changes are of relevance to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Previously advertised overnight single lane closures of the New Bridge will continue until Friday, 3rd May. On Thursday, […]

Footway closure on Rochester Esplanade

Pedestrians are advised that part of the riverside footway on Rochester Esplanade is to be temporarily closed. The closure will be implemented on Thursday, 23rd May, running until spring 2020. During this period pedestrians will be asked to use the footway on the far side of the road, alongside The Crown public house. Parking provision […]

A change of focus around Rochester’s bridges

When you hear the words “Rochester Bridge” what do you think of? An historic crossing? The Old Bridge? The more vague idea of a bridge that gets you over a river? Whatever your answer, it’s probably highly unlikely that you think of the New Bridge or the set of three structures owned by the Rochester […]

Lane restrictions as Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project begins

Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists are advised there are to be a series of overnight, temporary, single lane closures to the New Bridge between Rochester and Strood. On Monday, 22nd April, the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project will commence with night-time preparatory work. This will run for two nights, from 8pm to 5am, and will involve the […]

Refurbishing the New Bridge

The start of visible works for the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project is imminent, with the programme running in phases, beginning on the New Bridge. Which means now is the perfect… read more →

Safety during the refurbishment

Traffic cones and information signs are a fairly common sight on our roads, including when we’ve carried out work on Rochester’s bridges. For many they are an annoyance, for the people working on the site – and for many of those annoyed travellers too – they are important safety measures. The Trust’s main objective is […]

Maintaining a listed building

We’ve previously mentioned that the Old Bridge is a ‘listed building’ but what does this actually mean? In simple terms a listed building is a building or structure that has historical significance. This is often because it displays a particularly good or rare example of architectural style, but it could be for other reasons, such […]

Trust “recruits” female engineering role model

If you spot an engineer with a doll on one of Rochester’s bridges, they’re not having a play date but are instead taking part in an initiative to inspire primary… read more →

Contract awarded for bridges refurbishment

Three of Rochester’s bridges are set to benefit from a multi-million pound makeover with the start of a major refurbishment programme delivered at no cost to the public. FM Conway… read more →

Geotechnical investigations to inform Esplanade plans

We’ve mentioned that preparations for the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment have been going on behind the scenes for some time, but not all of the preparations have been hidden. In autumn 2016 – and for some time after – you may remember the investigations on Rochester Esplanade. The work was only scheduled to take a few […]

Looking to the past, planning for the future

To ensure our plans for the future do credit to the designs of the past, we regularly check photographs and plans from our archives. This is particularly important for our work to upgrade the ornate lighting, which must be in keeping with the style of the Old Bridge. In this photograph you can see that […]

Archive research informs modern designs

While our work to refurbish Rochester’s bridges is all about the future, the best way to go about the task is by taking note of the past. This means many… read more →

New sight lines – for views and safety

One of the most popular views of the Old Bridge is from the Rochester Esplanade, overlooking the Georgian balustrade. It’s the place where the majority of photos of the bridges are taken, including selfies with the lions, and where people like to stop and pause. Only people don’t tend to stop and pause for very […]

Ecology survey – results

How much notice do you take of bats? They’re not the most common of wildlife encountered on a day-to-day basis, but many of us are lucky enough to see them emerge at dusk. Of significance for the Rochester Bridge Trust is the knowledge those bats need to live somewhere. In 2017, in preparation for the […]

Collating the numbers

The more eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a few overnight – temporary – additions to our bridges. These are automatic traffic counters and they have been installed to ensure we have as much information as possible about traffic using the bridges before the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project begins in 2019. Comprising pneumatic tubes placed across […]

Working in partnership

While out and about in Rochester you may have noticed people in high visibility clothing working on or around the bridges. It’s highly likely you’ve spotted Peter, Shaun, Jack or… read more →

Why do Rochester’s bridges need to be refurbished?

Since the Rochester Bridge Trust was formed in 1391, it has had one main responsibility: to provide passage over, under or across the River Medway at Rochester. To meet the absolute minimum for that responsibility, the Trust: Ensures the bridges are in good condition. Keeps the bridges open to traffic. There are any number of […]

Introduction from the Bridge Clerk

Being the Chief Executive of the Rochester Bridge Trust is a great privilege and honour. As a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, I follow in the footsteps of… read more →

Material decision is a tight problem

The preparations for our upcoming refurbishment project involve considering lots of different strands of work, one of which relates to Rochester Esplanade. As regular readers will know, the Trust owns the end of Rochester Esplanade nearest the bridges. We are still developing our designs to improve the area opposite the Bridge Chamber, adding benches and […]

Rochester bridge refurbishment 2018, advance notice

The Rochester Bridge Trust is preparing to carry out a major refurbishment of Rochester’s bridges, and this blog post is to introduce you to the project, to reassure you and to ask for your patience. The refurbishment will include work on the 104-year-old Old Bridge, the New Bridge and the Service Bridge in between the […]

Sympathetic lighting for a listed bridge

When people think about ‘old’ gas lanterns, they tend to imagine a warm orange glow, but that’s not necessarily the reality. Instead, the colour of light produced by a gas lantern was dependent on the mixture of gas being burned, rather than the heat it burned with. Back in 1914, when the Old Bridge was […]

New ornate lighting for the Old Bridge

We’ve already mentioned prototype designs for new ornate lighting on our Old Bridge, but why do we need to replace what’s there? There are many reasons, but in brief – just like you occasionally need to re-wire a house – the wiring for the bridge’s lighting is nearing the end of its life. By replacing […]

Shedding light on new designs

In another step towards our future refurbishment works, we’ve been to see the prototype designs for the improved ornate lighting on the Old Bridge and Esplanade. The purpose of the… read more →

Planning to make changes – removal of a plaque

Those with a keen interest in the Old Bridge may be aware the Trust recently put in a listed building consent application to remove a plaque. The plaque in question is found under one of the large lions at the Rochester end of the bridge. As this has been on the Old Bridge since it […]

Ecology survey to build up picture of wild bridge users

As part of long-term plans to give Rochester’s bridges a thorough overhaul, investigations have been taking place to build up an understanding about every aspect of the bridges and how… read more →

Missing piece

Despite having an extensive archive containing hundreds of years of documents relating to bridge maintenance and construction, there are still one or two minor things we don’t know about the bridges. These are all incidental details that don’t have any impact on the general safety of the bridges, but they are things we would like […]

Inspections on the Esplanade

The Rochester Bridge Trust is known for its ownership of and responsibility for the bridges between Rochester and Strood, but did you know we also own a section of the… read more →

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