STONEMASONS are hard at work restoring an historic bridge.
They are replacing and refacing over 350 masonry blocks to repair and restore the grade II listed Baginton Mill bridge over the River Sowe.
The project is due to be completed in the new year and will ensure the 18th century bridge remains safe for vehicles.
The bridge is formed of three brick arches with sandstone elevations. Routine inspections found the condition of this sandstone to be severely eroded after centuries of weathering.
Only the most severely eroded stonework is being replaced, so that much of the original fabric of the structure is retained and the bridge’s heritage protected. Nearly 60 of the stone replacements are load bearing arch stones, weighing over half a tonne each. Removing these results in a temporary weakening of the structure, which has required heavy duty propping beneath the arches to make sure they remain safe while the stones are replaced.
And project has also been delayed by two incidents of vehicles hitting and damaging the bridge’s stone parapet walls. The second caused significant structural damage.
The work is being jointly funded by the Department for Transport and Warwickshire County Council. It is one of eight projects in WCC’s £6.3millon programme to repair Warwickshire’s historic road bridges.
WCC transport spokesman Coun Wallace Redford said: “There’s a great deal of work to be done to repair this bridge which has been eroded through centuries of wear, with additional damage from recent road traffic collisions.
“The repairs need to be undertaken sensitively to retain the historic integrity of the structure, so it is taking a little more time than you might expect. Baginton Mill Bridge is a really important heritage asset for the local community, as well as the county as a whole.”