Construction of new swingbridge over the Kennet & Avon Canal in Hungerford

Hungerford swing bridge open

The swingbridge over the canal near St Lawrence’s Church in Hungerford provides vital access to the marsh. After a long period of being difficult to use, the previous bridge finally broke in April 2022. Thanks to David Whiteley for this report on the stages of its replacement.

In late June, The Canal Trust removed the old bridge. The original bearing that was still serviceable was apparently on iron rollers, implying it wasn’t the first time this was reused.

And apparently it was the use of Douglas Fir soft wood in 2010 for the bridge’s structural base that led to its downfall; the structural base should have been made from oak but oak at the time must have been prohibitively expensive. 

The good news is that the new structural beams are steel clad in timber. On 30 June 2022 the steelwork was delivered by lorry to the wharf where it was offloaded onto a Canal Trust boat to be floated to site 250 metres upstream the bridge location.

By the first week in August, the bridge construction was complete, the railings painted white and the new bridge was finally swung into place much to the relief and pleasure of local walkers.

 

According to Hungerford’s Virtual Museum, the original swingbridge dates back to c.1799 since when it has been repaired and replaced many times.

The bridge originally leds to the historic Stocken Street pathway leading to Hungerford MarshFreeman’s Marsh and Hopgrass.

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