In pictures | Challenging installation of temporary bridge in Darley Abbey

The temporary bridge, which opened last October, has been named ‘Walter’s Walkway’ by school children (Image: Mabey Hire)

A temporary bridge has been successfully installed in a Derbyshire village amidst complex space and access challenges.

The original bridge provided the historic village of Darley Abbey with local access across the River Derwent to the Darley Abbey Mills, an area with restaurants and small businesses.

However, the structure was condemned in May 2022 after safety concerns.

Derby City Council appointed temporary works specialist Mabey Hire to design, supply and install a provisional bridge.

Bird view of the temporary bridge works in Darley Abbey
“This was a huge and incredibly complex installation” (Image: Mabey Hire)

For this project, Mabey Hire deployed its Compact 200 (C200) modular footbridge system, a trademarked design developed by the company specifically for pedestrian applications.

C200 is quick and easy to assemble by hand or with light plant equipment and features steel mesh infill panels for added safety.

Challenging works

But despite the straightforward design of the C200 bridge, the installation works were particularly challenging due to the site’s geography.

“We were working with exceptionally tight tolerances – at one point, part of the crane was just a couple of metres away from a resident’s front door!” explained Lee Matthews, major projects manager at Mabey Hire.

A crane lifts the temporary bridge in Darley Abbey
A row of protected trees made the site constraints particularly challenging (Image: Mabey Hire)

The 45m-long temporary bridge was delivered to site in modular panels. It was assembled in skeleton form on a residential road and lifted into position by a 500-tonne capacity crane.

“This was a huge and incredibly complex installation, requiring all of our engineering team and in-house installation team’s expertise to plan and safely execute logistically,” Matthews added.

“Due to the location, it was decided that a crane-lift would be the safest approach but even that presented challenges. As well as the residential street being the location for the bridge assembly – a very tight space – the site also included a row of protected trees, which made the site constraints even harsher when considering the crane lift.”

A 500-tonne capacity crane lifts a temporary bridge into position
The bridge was lifted into position by a 500-tonne capacity crane (Image: Mabey Hire)

The temporary footbridge was officially named ‘Walter’s Walkway’ following a competition where local school children suggested potential names for the bridge. It opened to the public in October 2022.

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