Preventative maintenance on the Old Bridge

Preventative maintenance has been carried out on the Old Bridge, to tackle the issue of guano.

Feral pigeons have started roosting within the bowstring-shaped trusses of the Old Bridge.

Pigeon poo – or guano – is corrosive. Left in situ, it will strip protective paint from the steel structure and leave it vulnerable to rust. However, clearing it away is no easy matter – access can be difficult and the guano itself is hazardous to human health, meaning any work has to be carried out wearing personal protective equipment.

A further problem affects the travelling public. With the pigeons roosting in the arches over the bridge, the laws of gravity mean pedestrians walking nearby are in danger of receiving an unpleasant surprise.

To tackle the issue, during a series of overnight works we have installed 50mm x 50mm black, steel mesh to keep the birds away from the bowstring-shaped trusses of the Old Bridge. The material has a low aesthetic impact and was chosen because it is sympathetic to the character of the Grade-II listed structure. The work only went ahead once permission was granted by Medway Council’s Conservation Officer.

Hopefully, we have now resolved the matter but we’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation because pigeons are both resourceful and persistent.

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