scaffold side view EJ 1

Why is there so much scaffolding on Rochester Esplanade?

We’ve been asked by a few people why the scaffolding on Rochester Esplanade is so extensive and what it is for.

Its purpose is to give the engineers a safe platform to access the river wall, so that repairs and repointing can take place. The river is tidal, which means we can’t work safely from the water – at high tide much of the wall is under the water level and at low tide the mud of the riverbed is exposed.

To add another complication, the balustrade on top of the wall was a Georgian addition to the medieval bridge. This is a Grade II-listed structure that needs to be protected. To make absolutely sure that no damage is done, we have “bridged” over the top of the parapet so it is not touched by the scaffold, as this photo shows:

The need to protect the balustrade means the kentledge (or counterweights) which support the weight of the workforce and plant and scaffold as it goes over the river wall needs to be set back as far as possible. This is the reason why the scaffold extends all the way to the edge of the carriageway.

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