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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Clifton Suspension Bridge to Undergo Multi-Million Pound Refurbishment

A landmark project to protect the historic ironwork at Clifton Suspension Bridge will begin in April 2024.

Funded entirely by tolls to the Grade 1 listed bridge across the River Avon, the work includes a new protective paint system across the bridge’s chains, some of which are 180 years old. This will protect the bridge’s ironwork from corrosion caused by chloride in the air from the tidal river. Parapet girder latticework and stanchions which run along the outer side of the bridge’s footways will also be painted.

Engineering firm Taziker has been awarded the contract to protect the chains for at least another 20-25 years. The chains will be painted by hand as spraying the iron would not ensure the three coats of even coverage that are required. Specially made tools, designed specifically for the chains of the Clifton Suspension Bridge have been made to guarantee that the gaps between the chain links are also properly coated.

Loose sections of paint will be removed, with any surface corrosion rubbed down, and new coats applied on top.

Many of the bridge’s chain links were manufactured for Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Hungerford Footbridge in London which opened in 1845. When the footbridge was demolished to make way for the Charing Cross Railway Bridge, parts of ironwork were recycled to make the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Trish Johnson, Bridgemaster, Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime project that will safeguard important original features designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as well as updating the bridge’s illuminations to ensure we are reaching the highest standards for sustainability whilst minimising light pollution.

“The project has been entirely funded through the collection of bridge tolls, and as a charity, we thank bridge users for helping us to finance these important works. We will be sharing regular updates across our website and social media so that all who are interested can see exactly how we are tackling this vital conservation work.”

Neil Harrison, CEO, Taziker added: “We are delighted to be awarded such a prestigious project which will see this outstanding heritage structure continue to be enjoyed by future generations to come. It is a true testament of our reputation as conservation specialists to be trusted with a landmark that means so much to the public.”

Picture: a photograph showing the iron chains of the bridge. Image Credit: Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust

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