Somerset County Council has announced that the craning-in of a long-awaited new bridge spanning the River Parret at Langport will take place at noon on Monday, October 2.
The Cocklemoor Bridge weighs more than 13 tonnes and is almost 90 feet long. Weather conditions permitting, the steel superstructure will be lifted more than 50 feet into the air by a large crane and moved from the car park at the side of the river, over the top of the Langport and River Parrett Visitor Centre building before being laid to rest across the river.
The unique structure has its heart in the South West. It was designed by nationally recognised artist and Somerset resident, Richard La Trobe Bateman, working in partnership with design engineer Mark Lovell of Devizes, Wiltshire and the main contractor was Somerset firm, RG Spillers of Chard.
The high-specification bridge is the centrepiece in a series of public artworks created to enhance and celebrate The Parret Trail, the 47-mile footpath that runs alongside the river from source to mouth. The bridge offers a stunning crossing from Langport to the visitor centre and is an all abilities pedestrian crossing, with excellent wheelchair and pushchair access. To maximise use for those with mobility problems, a pathway has been created from the bridge to disabled parking bays on the Cocklemoor car park.
The cutting-edge bridge has been designed and built using a structural form known as the â€˜Pratt Truss'. Artistic design, together with state-of-the-art engineering has produced a bridge that appears both light and airy. Anyone looking at the bridge will have a good sense of how the structure works and, because of its unusual structure, the bridge will feel different to an ordinary footbridge.
The project has been funded by Somerset County Council's Local Transport Plan, the Levels and Moors Partnership, the Arts Lottery, South Somerset District Council and Leader Plus. It will become a Somerset landmark, allowing residents and visitors to access the River Parrett Trail and its riverside amenities, away from the busy traffic on the historic Bow Bridge and the A378 traffic it carries.
Somerset County Council's Portfolio Holder for Adult and Community Services, Councillor Justin Robinson said: â€œThis is a ground breaking project for the County Council which will deliver massive benefits to the community.
The Parrett Trail is a great asset for Somerset and this contemporary and striking bridge will be the jewel in its crown, allowing the whole community to safely enjoy the trail.â€
Derek Yeomans, County Councillor for Langport said: â€œI hope that the arrival and installation of this much heralded and awaited bridge will prove to be major asset and increase the safety and access to the beautiful tranquil countryside around Langport and its quietly flowing river for the next hundred years.â€