Network Rail has completed an £8m project to make the iconic Hawarden bridge across the River Dee stronger. The bridge is fit for the future and better able to cater for the ever increasing demand for passenger and freight services.
The main truss of the railway bridge, which was built in 1887, has been strengthened with new steel plates and given a new coat of paint to protect it from corrosion and improve the bridge’s appearance.
Jonathan Pegg, route asset management director for Network Rail Wales, said: “Thousands of passengers use Hawarden railway bridge on the Borderlands line to cross the River Dee every day.
“This iconic structure has been in use for more than a hundred years and our work to strengthen the bridge will ensure we can use it for many years to come.
“A robust railway is vital to a thriving economy and we are building a better railway, which is safer, more reliable and more efficient.”
During the scheme, the four metallic spans of the bridge were grit blasted to remove old paint layers and then repainted. The work was carried out in 30 metre sections and the structure was encapsulated to protect the environment from dust and debris from the work.
This bridge is a listed structure, with the central span designed as a swing bridge, which previously allowed shipping to pass. The bridge has long-provided an important link between Deeside and the original John Summers and Sons steel works. This link now also provides access to the cycleway along the Dee embankment to Chester and to the Burton Point cycleway, improving access to the Wirral coastline.
The public walkway on the bridge has remained open to public throughout the duration of the work, which started last year.
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.