The bespoke 61-metre long, glue-laminated footbridge is situated in an environmentally sensitive location and required innovative engineering to address the ecological and heritage constraints of the scheme. WSP says that it has provided “a sustainable structure that has been designed to be robust and resilient on a floodplain that is subjected to regular flooding”.
The route will connect the town of Abergavenny and the village of Llanfoist, currently served by a narrow Grade II* listed highway bridge of medieval origins. Knight Architects and WSP were commissioned by Monmouthshire County Council to design a quieter and safer route away from the highway for pedestrians and cyclists.
The route crosses the river 100 metres downstream of the existing bridge. The structure comprises a two-span through beam (25 metres + 36 metres) with a timber and stainless-steel deck that has a three-metre wide U-shaped cross section. These side beams also act as parapets and are protected with a geometric timber protective cladding.
The deck is supported by an intermediate concrete pier with four stainless steel arms. The approach ramps are designed as green embankments, raising the bridge structure above the flood water levels.
WSP project manager Steve Heaney said: “It is with much excitement for those involved in the design, but more importantly the public and stakeholders, that we can now advance into the next steps of delivery after being unanimously granted planning permission. One of our key objectives of the project was to deliver a solution which will promote active travel for the local community and also address the onerous conditions which the public currently face. We can now look forward to moving towards construction of this architecturally elegant, innovative and functional footbridge.”
Knight Architects associate Héctor Beade-Pereda added: “This project is particularly exciting for us as it will not only provide a greatly improved crossing route for the local communities, but will be an elegant, understated structure clad in timber – such a versatile material that is often underused in contemporary bridge structures. We wanted to ensure that the bridge will offer a harmonious addition to the sensitive setting, as well as being a functional structure which addresses the tricky site conditions, and provides a more appropriate amenity for users.”