Rochester Bridge Trust was proud to host the 70th meeting of a group of the United Kingdom’s leading bridge experts.
The Bridge Owners’ Forum met in the Trust’s six centuries old Bridge Chapel, where they learned more about the charity’s activities at the start of their two-day event focussed on bridge management.
Sue Threader, Bridge Clerk (Chief Executive) of the Trust, said: “The Bridge Owners’ Forum is a place to share best practice; to co-ordinate and disseminate academic research; and to identify emerging issues in bridge management. It was a pleasure to host the visit, sharing our activities with our peers while also benefitting from learning about the different approaches of other bridge owners.”
Day one of the visit included a boat trip along the River Medway to find out more about the different crossings in the area, and a walking tour of Rochester Bridge. This enabled participants to gain physical experience of the three different structures that make up the crossing and the way they are maintained. It was also an opportunity for the Wardens and Assistants and staff to meet members of the forum.
Day two was dedicated to the regular business of the Forum, with the key topics covering the Grand Challenges of carbon reduction; preventing bridge failure; extending the life of existing structures; embracing innovation and embedding technology; and securing a competent and diverse workforce. Particular discussion included the use of drones to inspect inside bridge structures; the Trust’s recent achievement of Net Zero Carbon for routine maintenance activities; and use of recycled plastic and fibre reinforced plastic to replace high maintenance timber decks on footbridges.
Established in 2000, the Forum meets three times a year. Its current members are: Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) – Bridges Group, Big Bridge Group (UK Bridges Board), Cambridge University, Canal and River Trust, County Surveyors’ Society (Wales), Department for Transport, Environment Agency, Forestry England, Heritage Rail Infrastructure Group, HS2, Infrastructure Northern Ireland, London Bridges Engineering Group (LoBEG), London Underground, National Highways, Network Rail, Railway Paths, Rochester Bridge Trust, Scottish and Southern Energy, Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS), Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Transport for London, Transport Scotland, and Welsh Government.