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Movable Bridges in the British Isles
Swing bridge animation
Sutton Bridge - 1st - Weaver Navigation
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Parent Bridge
Address: Sutton Weaver
County: Cheshire
Country: England
OS Grid Ref: SJ535789
Guide:
     Nicholsons Guide to the Waterways
     Volume 4, page 154 © 2000 Collins
Type: Swing
Built: 1872
Construction: Bowstring girder
Power: Electric
Use: Road
Customer: Weaver Navigation & Cheshire CC
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Build Information: Swing section sits on 'live' ring of girders and partly on cylindrical pontoon immersed beneath centre of gravity. Pontoon turns with bridge taking 2/3 of weight.
Technical Information: steel N-trussed girders, parabolic booms + box form cross girders and troughs carrying an asphalt floor with 2 footpaths outside main girders. Bridge swings through 100 degrees in 60 seconds.
Support Group: River Weaver Navigation Society  Website: www.rwns.co.uk
Visited by: Tuesday Night Club, 2002
Present Condition: Replaced
General notes:
Carries the A56(T)

The first bridge - built in 1872 - consisted of '2 lattice ironwork longitudinal plate girders carrying a plank floor, connected by diaphragm plates and supported when swinging with tie rods which passed over inverted triangular frames'. The old bridge was 75' long x 14' wide and weighed 20 tons. It was manually operated by one man.

By 1923 the 1872 bridge could no longer cope with 'modern' traffic loads and the Navigation Trustees reached an agreement with Cheshire CC to replace the bridge with a new structure built to Ministry of Transport standards. The CCC and the MoT agreed to pay for work that was beyond the legal responsibilities of the Trustees.

The 'new' bridge is 150' long by 44' wide giving a clear roadway of 26' 8" plus two footpaths of 5'. When open the bridge offers a clear span of 65' + 8' for the towpath. The swinging section and the pontoons that it sit on weigh 519 tons, including 420 tons of iron and steel. The pontoon makes up 33 tons of this and is 35' in diameter.

The pontoon is filled with 707 cubic yards of concrete.

The bridge turns on 114 rollers on a 42' 6" diameter roller path, with each roller carrying between 1/5 and 3/5 of a ton.

The bridge was designed to take a maximum distributed load of 120 tons, with a single axle load of 15 tons.

The electric motors that turn the bridge produce 1-30bhp, and the motors that drive the wedges produce 2-10 bhp.

In the 1920's the bridge was swung on average 17 times per day.

When being swung road traffic was barred by heavy iron gates hung on ball bearings and connected by underground gearing. Road lighting on the bridge was electric but red and green signal lamps were paraffin.

The Waterways Archive, Gloucester. Cat. Ref. BW132/7/2/3/4
Acknowledgements :   Caroline Jones, Archivist,The Waterways Archive, Gloucester.  
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Database ref number: 1477