Thursday, July 14, 2022

News: "Tesco bridge" removed at Forge Island, replacement set to nod to Bailey


The latest step in the transformation of Forge Island in Rotherham is the removal of the footbridge over the River Don.

Plans were approved in 2020 for the Forge Island scheme which will include a new eight screen cinema, and a new Travelodge hotel, food and drink outlets and a car park. The new leisure facilities will be set within an attractive public square with a new pedestrian bridge connecting the scheme to the wider town centre, to create a real sense of place.

This week, Baldwins Crane Hire supplied an epic mobile crane with a 1,000 tonne lifting capacity to take out the old footbridge that joined the island, which was previously home to a Tesco store, and the also now demolished Riverside Precinct.

The site on Corporation Street is to make way for a new gateway with a 1,500 sq ft café in another open area called "Millgate Place."

The proposed foot / cycle bridge connecting Millgate Place and Forge Island is set to nod to Rotherham's industrial heritage and play homage to Donald Bailey and the Bailey Bridge.

From a sketch on the back of an envelope, Rotherham hero Bailey honed his design for a bridge that could be built from standard lightweight modules in a matter of hours, and were yet strong enough to hold tanks. Hundreds were built and used in the War enabling allied troops to cross rivers, and Field Marshall Montgomery is reported to have claimed their use shortened the conflict by several months.

The approved 2020 planning application from Muse Developments explained that: "The design for the new footbridge is inspired by the Bailey bridge.

"The proposed footbridge utilises two steel diamond truss side panels connected with steel stringers to the base creating a simple open the red/brown colour of the Forge Island buildings and celebrating the material that was previously manufactured on site [it was previously the Rotherham Forge & Rolling Mills]. The sides of the bridge are to be 1.4m above the bridge deck, allowing both pedestrian and cyclists to use the bridge.

"At night it is intended that the structure will be illuminated making a visual feature of and the structural solution of the Bailey bridge."

Rotherham Council secured funding in 2021 for the £1m project. It is being delivered through Rotherham Council with money secured from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

The authority said at the time that replacing the existing footbridge was part of the works to regenerate Forge Island and would provide an improved environment for pedestrian movements between the town centre, Forge Island and Rotherham Central Station.

The planning application adds: "The existing footbridge will be replaced and re-orientated, which in conjunction with the removal of the shopping precinct off Corporation Street, will provide a more direct link to Upper Millgate and Minster Gardens. The bridge will be designed to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists. Public spaces on either side of the bridge will provide points of arrival and orientation, as well as opportunities to engage with the riverside.

"The space previously occupied by the shopping precinct will become a new public space - Millgate Place. The pedestrian approach from Bridge Street will take people through a riverside parklet, incorporating tree planting and play."

Forge Island website

Images: Baldwin Crane Hire / Liam McLoughlin / twitter


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