The Environment Agency has awarded ECS Engineering Services, one of its framework contractors, with a project to design, build and install a new bridge in Mapledurham, near Reading. As the exclusive UK agent for FiberCore Europe, the proposed design from ECS will use proprietary technology to construct a strong, lightweight and durable structure using fibre reinforced polymer (FRP).
This contract will improve the capacity of the local access routes to the Mapledurham weir and lock complex which will be part of a much larger refurbishment project taking place across a number of sites on the River Thames. The new bridge will replace an ageing structure that has insufficient capacity for modern vehicles.
Jamie Wesley, Commercial Manager for the Water Control Division at ECS, comments: “Using the FRP technology developed by FiberCore Europe has several advantages that will benefit the EA. In the short term, it will reduce the build and installation times, while in the long term it will almost eliminate any maintenance requirements for the lifetime for the bridge, which is expected to be in excess of 100 years.
The location of the bridge is impossible to access with a large articulated lorry so the proposal that ECS has put forward will involve loading the new structure onto floating pontoons and transporting it to the site by river. This process will be made all the easier by the comparative lightweight nature of the bridge compared to a conventional construction.
The installation of this new bridge will provide the EA with greatly improved access to the weir and lock complex and allow vital maintenance work to be completed. The bridge comes with a 50 year limited warranty on the construction and even a 10 year limited warranty on the wear surface, so that EA will have guaranteed access for years to come.