The removal and restoration of Alton footbridge in Hampshire was an interesting project that provided a different engineering challenge to typical bridge demolition projects Andun Engineering Consultants (AEC) are involved in.
The key difference for this project were that once removed the bridge was to be restored rather than broken up. In addition, the client seeking our engineering input did not own the asset.
About Alton Footbridge
The bridge was first built in 1892 and has been modified numerous times for a variety of purposes, the most interesting of which was the boarding of the sides in 1894 to “preserve the modesty of Victorian ladies”
The bridge was further modified to become fully enclosed.
The record drawings for the structure did not bear any resemblance to reality, in addition to which the structure was in very poor condition.
Saving Alton Footbridge
The local community were keen to protect the bridge and initially sought to fund repairs and save the bridge in situ. However, when the costs to repair were deemed too great and the group changed focus to getting the bridge removed and restored.
We were asked by the Friends of Alton Station (FAS) to provide engineering input to help the local community group demonstrate the footbridge could be removed and restored safely and effectively as part of their campaign to save the bridge.
FAS were able to work with Network Rail to gain approval for their plan and raise funds to help remove the bridge and transport it offsite for restoration.
Once the plan for the removal of the bridge was approved, we worked with the demolition contractor Econ Demolition to provide the demolition engineering for the removal and transportation of the bridge.
Five years after the founding of FAS the bridge was successfully removed just before lockdown and is now in the process of being restored. This success is a testament to the determination of this community-driven project.
As engineers, it is great to see the community value engineering history and it was rewarding to play our part in the long process to securing the restoration of the footbridge.
The video below outlines the history of the bridge and the process and engineering required to safely remove and transport the structure.