Christchurch Cycle & Foot Bridge, 2015

Completed in August 2015, Christchurch Bridge was built at a cost of £5.9m and provides an important new link for pedestrians and cyclists between Reading Town Centre, the upgraded rail station and Caversham’s riverside areas. The bridge has proved to be a welcome addition to the landscape and was recently recognised with a WAN Award nomination in the ‘Best Bridge’ category. The bridge was created by Design Engine Architects who worked in collaboration with engineers Peter Brett Associates to produce a unique design solution tailored to the confined site, with built-in adaptability for potential future extensions. A single masted cable stayed structure was developed for the principal river span due to its lightness of appearance, value for money, deliverability (including ease of construction), and clear navigation width. The structure creates a river span of 68m and a land span of 54m supported by a mast of 39m high located above the north bank of the River Thames. The single slender mast was positioned on the north bank with the land span continuing straight on into Christchurch Meadows to balance the river span visually and structurally. On the south side of the river, a restricted access resulted in the creation of a staircase and ramp at 90 degrees to the bridge direction. The bridge deck gently tapers from its widest point around the mast towards either end. A timber-clad bench folds out of the mast, offering panoramic views of the river and meadows beyond. A continuous handrail provides the lighting for the bridge, as well as creating another spot to soak in the views. Conical cable shrouds fabricated in perforated stainless steel wrap around each of the cables as they connect to the bridge deck. An LED lighting scheme creates an addition to the night-time landscape that is both practical and eye-catching. The new bridge formed an integral part of Reading Borough Council’s scheme which aims to create an additional 7,200 daily bus trips, 12,050 daily walking trips and 2,300 daily cycle trips across the town, whilst cutting congestion by up to 10%.

An artist’s impression of the cycle and pedestrian bridge over the Thames at Christchurch Meadows,Reading

2015: New Christchurch Cycle and footbridge construction

2015: New Christchurch Cycle and footbridge

Between Reading Bridge and the downstream end of Fry’s Island
November 2014 to July 2015
Construction of the new Reading Cycle and Footbridge
A new cycle and footbridge is being constructed over the River Thames between Reading Bridge and the downstream end of Fry’s Island from November 2014 to July 20.
The bridge will be a cable stayed bridge with a 39 metre mast on the Northern, Christchurch Meadow bank. The bridge will land on the Southern bank adjacent to the Southern and Scottish Energy premises.
Works are required to the Southern bank to widen the public footpath and construct the landings for the steps and ramp. The width of the river will be reduced whilst floating plant such as the piling platform and barges are used to carry out these works. The navigation will remain open and will either be redirected along the North side of Fry’s Island or through a restricted channel on the South side past the work equipment. Access to Fry’s Island and the services located there will be possible throughout the works.
The new bridge will have a headroom of 4.57 metres over the centre of both navigation channels. This is the same headroom as the next bridge upstream, Caversham Bridge. River users are reminded that headways are measured above standard head water level of the lock below. Allowance must therefore be made for the gradient of the river at any given time because this will reduce, to a varying extent, the figures above. Short period closures will be required for the lifting in of the new bridge deck. These will take place in 2015 and we will issue a further Harbourmaster’s notice to advise of these as soon as possible. Please follow directional signage, follow any directions given by the safety boat and/or officers of the Environment Agency and navigate slowly and with caution in the area of these works.
Andrew Graham, Harbourmaster, 18 November 2014