Video reveals specialist work needed to restore Chester landmark

20 November 2017

Work to restore Chester’s historic Watergate Bridge is nearing completing and a video released by all the organisations involved has revealed the specialist work taking place under the scaffolding wrapping.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore said: “Due to its complexity the skilled work has been so far hidden from public view, and it’s easy to see why it may look like nothing has been happening.  But underneath the white scaffold tent, where the majority of the works are taking place, is a hive of activity.  I’m delighted that a video showing some of the skilled stonemasons and their work is now available for everyone to see. 

“The Council is committed to protecting Chester’s unique heritage and making it accessible for everyone. These intensive and specialist works are part of project to improve and maintain the city’s historic walls, with a £500,000 investment from the Council.”  The video has been commissioned by all the organisations involved in the major project including Cheshire West and Chester Council; main contractors, Ringway Infrasture Services Ltd; historic structure specialists, Rambolls; specialist stonemasons Grosvenor Construction Ltd, Standard Scaffold and 3D laser scan specialists Russell Geomatics.  It will form part of a longer video which will document the whole project when the works are complete.

The amount of work required to restore the historic Watergate Bridge increased significantly after the bridge parapet was dismantled earlier this year.

Repair techniques used in the last century meant that 85% of the stone had to be replaced due to ‘delamination’ – where water flakes away outer layers of stonework.  Initially the project estimated that 15% of the stonework on the bridge would need to be replaced.

A 3D laser scan was undertaken to create a millimetre accurate drawings of the original balustrade and been used to both schedule the works and to commission bespoke component parts of the parapet to secure it for future generations.

Work is now also taking place on the approach ramps either side of the bridge; in order to make the best use of the closure that is in place for the bridge works.  The project is on schedule to be completed by the end of this year. 

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