The new Gem bridge, is currently being constructed for Devon County Council near to Grenofen, between Tavistock and Plymouth. When completed the bridge will span 200 metres of the Walkham Valley, at a height of 24 metres. This new bridge replaces the old Gem Bridge that was originally built by Brunel in circa 1891 and demolished in the 1950’s.
This week a 500 ton Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1 crane on hire from Ainscough Crane Hire Ltd., was brought in to perform some heavy lifting of the bridge sections. Access for the crane was difficult, down a fairly steep slope, so main contractor Dawnus Construction Limited, hired in a Caterpillar D9T to act as an anchor and tow vehicle to assist the crane.
As seen in the photo above the crane was attached to the D9T which was being operated by Justin and is seen just about to make its decent into the valley below. Once the crane was in place and set up, the lifting commenced with the stunning Devon countryside as the backdrop. This new bridge has been designed to replicate the original Brunel design and has a concrete deck with steel lattice girder arrangement supported on slender concrete columns.
The new bridge forms an important part of Devon’s ambition to create a 26km cycling and pedestrian route linking Tavistock with Horrabridge, Yelverton and Plymouth . It has been designed with a viewing platform in the centre to enable users to stop and take time to appreciate the stunning views of the valley.
Let’s hope they move that van out of the way first!