Lift bridge animation
Movable Bridges in the British Isles
Swing bridge animation
12-Sutton Bridge - 2nd - Weaver Navigation
Previous Bridges on this site :
     0 - 11-Sutton Weaver old swing bridge
     1872 - Sutton Bridge - 1st
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Address: Sutton Weaver
County: Cheshire
Country: England
OS Grid Ref: SJ535789
     Nicholsons Guide to the Waterways
     Volume 4, page 154 © 2000 Collins
Type: Swing
Built: 1923
Construction: Bowstring girder
Power: Electric
Use: Road
Customer: Weaver Navigation & Cheshire CC
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Sutton Swing Bridge and high level 2004-a
Sutton Swing Bridge and high level 2004-a
Construction Partners:
Builders: Weaver Navigation Trust - Abutments and cabin
Contractor: British Steel Piling Co., London - Steel piling for coffer dam
Steelwork Contractor: Joseph Parks & Son,Wadebrook Steelworks,Northwich - steel and iron work
electrical engineering: Metroploitan-Vickers Electrical Co, Trafford Park - Electrical machinery
Contractor: Penmaenmawr and Trinidad Lake Asphalt Co,Liverpool - asphalt roadway
Builders: J.G. Davies and Co, Frodsham - Bridgekeepers Cottages
Design: Colonel J A Saner,V.D., M.Inst.C.E., - Design and supervision
Contractor: Cheshire County Council - Approach roads under supervised by William Holland
electrical engineering: Mersey Power Company, Runcorn - Supplied electric winches
Manufacturer: R.J Russell Ltd - 1973 replacement
Design: British Waterways Bridge Office - 1973 replacement
Contractor: Shand Ltd - 1986 upgrade
Design: British Waterways Bridge Office - 1986 upgrade
Contractor: Yorkshire Heavy Engineering Ltd - Replacement brackets & decking-pedestrian walkways
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:
Visited by: Tuesday Night Club, 2002
Present Condition: Good -operational
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.

John Powell tells me that the pontoon is hollow and functions by displacing water equal to the volume of the air in the pontoon, thereby floating and reducing the vertical load on the central bearings.

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

The number reference in the bridge name refers to the sequence of locations of movable bridges on the Weaver Navigation, starting from Weston Point.

My thanks to Colin Edmondson, historian for the River Weaver Navigation Society, for sharing his list of movable bridges on the Weaver based on 10 years of research.

Acknowledgements :   Caroline Jones, Archivist,The Waterways Archive, Gloucester.  
Related Website :    
Bibliography :  
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Database ref number: 57