Standens Barn Bridge, Northampton – a vital pedestrian footbridge link between Weston Favell Shopping Centre and the Standens Barn residential area of Weston Favell – was temporarily removed on Wednesday night – 25th March 2015 – by midlands-based Makers Construction to undergo major refurbishment work.
Since its construction in 1975, the pedestrian footbridge has provided passage over the busy A4500 Wellingborough Road dual carriageway at Weston Favell giving thousands of regular users much needed access to a 24-hour Tesco Superstore and other retail outlets.
This steel footbridge structure had received minimal maintenance over the years and following recent surveys, it was identified as being structurally deficient. Its refurbishment is the first major part of a larger scheme of repairs and refurbishment to the overall shopping centre currently underway.
As part of much needed major improvements being carried out at Weston Favell, the steel footbridge was lifted out and then transported away from site by road overnight to Bilston in the West Midlands where it will undergo a total refurbishment.
In an operation that lasted just over three hours from start to finish, the bridge removal itself took just 30 minutes to lift the 28m single-span steel structure – weighing 20 tonnes – on to a specially equipped long-load vehicle using a 70-tonne crane. A total of 18 staff assembled on site forming the specialist team to carry out the work. The whole operation ran seamlessly from start to finish.
Plans were unveiled last year by the centre to re-brand and refurbish the centre in a big £4 million facelift by the centre’s owners, Redefine International. The centre is home to Tesco Extra as well as multinational retailers including Wilkinson, Boots, New Look, WH Smith and Costa Coffee as well as independent retailers.
Weston Favell shopping centre has an annual footfall of 7m and a total resident population of 235,000 in its adjacent catchment area and therefore the footbridge bridge plays a fundamental role.
Graeme Middleton, Business Development Manager at Makers said,
“The original plan was to refurbish the footbridge in-situ however given a series of both practical AND safety concerns, it had been decided to remove the footbridge in its entirety and carry out the refurbishments ‘off-site’ in a closed workshop environment.
To have refurbished the footbridge in position would have meant a full scaffold surrounding the perimeter of this tube-like structure, the impact of which would have been vehicle height restrictions with high-sided vehicles being diverted away from the area via other routes potentially leading to major disruption”.
The footbridge will be completely refurbished in Bilston before being transported back to site and re-positioned in June 2015.