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24 February 2011

Mott MacDonald’s commission on historic footbridge project reaches completion, Kent, UK

Mott MacDonald’s commission as technical adviser and design engineer by Medway Council for the new Fort Amherst Footbridge in Medway, Kent has reached a successful conclusion, with the bridge due to open to the public in April 2011.

The global management, engineering and development consultancy has been assisting with the project from its earliest stages, which has involved building a new pedestrian bridge across a historic defensive ditch, linking a new walkway into the Fort Amherst site. The walkway and bridge are both part of the wider Great Lines Heritage Park scheme.

Mott MacDonald developed concept designs and feasibility studies for the footbridge and successfully helped to secure the agreement of the Fort’s trustees, the planning authority, technical approval authority and English Heritage. The consultancy also undertook several site surveys, was responsible for the overall footbridge design as well as provided advice and guidance on construction and cost issues.

Project manager Brian Duguid said, “The Great Lines Heritage Park scheme will improve public access to the historic area of Chatham and the new footpath into Fort Amherst will create free access to the external areas of the Fort for the first time. The Fort Amherst Footbridge will be a vital part of this route and Mott MacDonald is delighted to have been involved in this project.”

The Fort Amherst Footbridge has been designed to minimise the impact on the historic site while facilitating greatly improved access to the public. The bridge has been designed without intermediate supports so that the integrity of the defensive ditch is retained, and a necessary opening through the defensive firestep wall at one end of the bridge has been minimised in size. The extent of excavation and alteration required to the historic Fort infrastructure has also been kept to a minimum. Due to the site constraints, access to the site for construction was limited and as such the bridge was designed so that it could be erected in small, lightweight pieces, allowing the contractor to develop a cost-effective method of installation.

“As Mott MacDonald provides engineering services under a framework with Medway Council, we were able to draw on our previous experience to ensure that every possible option was considered carefully and our flexibility in responding to stakeholder requirements proved a key contribution to this project.” Brian added.

Mott MacDonald’s role on the Fort Amherst Footbridge project started in March 2009, with site work starting in November 2010 and completed in February 2011. The contractor for the project was Birse Civil Engineering Ltd, with Wright Engineering responsible for the manufacture and installation of the footbridge.

Ends

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