Drivers and pedestrians crossing Rochester Old Bridge will have noticed scaffolding and sheeting in place on one of the porticos. Some of the 100-year-old stonework was damaged by a vehicle, and works are in progress to replace the damaged section.
Scaffolding was erected in February, and the top of the portico was removed with the same traditional methods used in its construction during the reign of Edward VII. The damaged block has been transported to a Cornish quarry, where a replacement stone is being made to the exact dimensions required using the same source of stone as used in the original structure. Meanwhile, the partly dismantled portico sits cocooned in scaffolding awaiting the return of the new block.
When the stone is returned, the masons of DBR (London) Limited, specialist contractor for masonry restoration, will reassemble the portico. There will have to be a short-duration closure of the footway, cycle lane, and one lane of the Old Bridge, while all the stones are lifted back into place safely and the scaffolding is then removed. It is hoped that this work will be done over a weekend in March or April.
While the footway is closed, the Rochester Bridge Trust will also be carrying out some other essential repairs to power cables and the parapet rail. The Bridge Engineer supervising the works is Mott MacDonald.
1. The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charitable trust that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and serve the travelling public. It is the only surviving bridge trust still serving its original purpose, and it has served the people of Kent since 1399. The Trust also supports numerous community and education projects across historic Kent and Medway.
2. The Trust’s assets all derive from endowments of land and money in the 14th and 15th centuries and are carefully managed in order to provide an income to fund bridge maintenance and local charitable grants. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.
For more information:
The Rochester Bridge Trust
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125