JMS Engineer - Russell Holway - goes the extra mile so Bradgate Park visitors won’t have to

December 23, 2020 News

Anyone familiar with Leicestershire will know Bradgate Park. Around 3.5 million visitors flock to the 850-acre site each year to enjoy the fresh air, see the fallow deer, and hike to well known landmarks such as Old John.

However, when JMS visited the area in 2019, it wasn’t for sightseeing. The job was to assess the safety of the bridges that enable traffic to access the area. And as it turned out, Old John wasn’t the only structure on site that was showing signs of age.

The Newton Linford Exit Bridge, which offers key ingress for much of the road and foot traffic to the area, was, like any well-used bridge, starting to show signs of wear and tear. This was no surprise, thanks to the many buses that ferried visitors to the area each day.

“Bridges like this one face a lot of strain,” explains engineer Russell Holway, “That’s why it’s vital we can regularly assess the safety and reliability of the infrastructure. And while this bridge was holding up well, I could see how in the longer term, the structure might encounter issues.”

Russell made two key suggestions in his report:

  • Access for heavy vehicles over 3.5T, such as coaches, should be kept to a minimum.
  • Traffic over the bridge should be slowed to 5mph, to ensure that pedestrian visitors could be kept safe.

“These recommendations were designed to ensure this bridge could be used safely and the infrastructure could remain intact for many more years to come. After all, this is a well-travelled route for tourists,” Russ said. “I also recommended some light alterations to the bridge itself, as some components were worn. However, following my instinct, I also decided to look further ahead.”

JMS go beyond the brief

Although not in the initial inspection brief that was commissioned, Russ took the initiative to plan out a longer-term solution that would improve the bridge to the point that heavy vehicles could freely access it, and he included a rough costing estimate for the work.

“Often, people receive a survey report, and get buried under details and observations. However, I understood the economic and logistical importance of this bridge to the area, and I felt that I could take things a step further, and offer up a practical and pragmatic solution that would resolve problems I felt might occur in the longer term future. After all, JMS has a reputation for going that extra mile when required. And let’s face it, a problem uncovered is a problem to be solved. That’s something I love doing as an engineer.”

And while a decision has yet to be made on the future of this bridge, Russell’s willingness to find a practical long-term solution means that when work is ready to begin, JMS will be well placed to support the project.


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