x   2009


Esholt Suspension Bridge, Esholt, Bradford                                Grid Ref SE 187 388

Footway over River Aire                                                 Date of Re-construction 1980

Location Map                    Esholt Suspension Bridge

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                                     Esholt Suspension Bridge - Downstream Elevation from the East

Towards the end of my time employed as a Section Engineer with the Structural Engineering Unit (Bridges) at W.Y.M.C.C. Dept. of Planning, Engineering and Transportation (DoPET) I was asked to investigate the re-decking of a suspension bridge at Esholt , which carried a footpath over the River Aire. The existing steel deck girders were badly corroded and in need of replacement and strength of the iron suspension chains was in question.

Access to the site is difficult - footpaths only on the south and on the north side  the boundary of the Esholt sewage works lies close to the bridge making access for delivery of materials and in particular large cranes difficult. After investigating alternative bridge designs for single or 3 span bridges in steel and aluminium, I decided that the best course of action was to keep to the suspension bridge form.

I then investigated various methods of design of suspension bridges and liased with the T.R.R.L. regarding dynamic and aerodynamic behaviour. I even recall reading parers by Norwegian authors on the design of suspension bridges.

My proposal was to replace the existing suspension chains with locked-coil steel cables to be manufactured by a company in Musselburgh, East Lothian, but this proved to be unnecessary.

the steel stiffening deck was to be replaced with a deck of similar form but in aluminium. This choice of material would remove the need for subsequent painting, giving a minimum whole-life cost solution (although ‘whole life’ costings were several decades away in the future).

The completion of the design drawings was interrupted by my promotion to Senior Section Engineer, but the drawings and contract document preparation were completed by a technician, whose name escapes me but with whom I shared cars between Mirfield and Wakefield. He drove a red MGB!

When I returned to the bridge in January 2009 to take these photographs, the bridge was in good condition, no corrosion and perfectly stable with no sway.

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