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Essential engineering works continue on the Tamar Bridge

Essential engineering works continue on the Tamar Bridge

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:00am 28th July 2020.

Essential engineering works on the Tamar Bridge are set to continue during the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee has been working hard during the coronavirus pandemic to continue to carry out essential engineering and maintenance work to ensure that crossings remain in a safe and serviceable condition. 

Officials have been working with contractors to ensure that Government guidance on safe working practices have been followed on all construction projects.

This has included implementing social distancing measures and robust hand hygiene practices. 

Next phase of kerb replacement works:

One of the key projects continuing during the past few months is the scheme to carry out essential engineering works to replace the bridge deck waterproofing system underneath the kerbs and to replace the bolts that fix the kerbs in place.  As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the engineering team have had to amend the scheduled programme on a number of occasions to meet the latest Government guidance.

In May the kerb replacement works were moved to the north cantilever lane, rather than onto the main deck as previously planned.  This ensured that all users could continue to safely use the bridge while the team complied with the Government guidance in place at that time.

Work on the north cantilever is due to be completed on 2nd August. After detailed consideration of the latest Government advice it has been decided to continue with the next phase of the project to ensure that this vital scheme is carried out as quickly as possible.  This means moving the works onto the main deck.

tamar bridge 2

How will it impact travellers?

As this will temporarily reduce the number of lanes on the main deck from three to two,  some significant new traffic management arrangements are being introduced to keep the bridge operating as smoothly as possible at the same time as ensuring the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, mobility scooters, and engineering staff.

As well as re-opening the north cantilever, the team need to use the south cantilever for westbound traffic which would previously have been using one of the lanes on the main deck.  This means closing the south cantilever lane to pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooters and re-instating the free shuttle bus service.

Having reviewed the operation of the shuttle bus during the previous closure of the south cantilever and analysed the feedback from service users, officials have introduced a number of changes to make it easier and more efficient to use the service while, at the same time, ensuring that it meets the latest Government guidance.

This means that, as well as operating the free shuttle bus 24 hours a day, seven days a week as previously, officials will be working with Plymouth Citybus to run an additional scheduled bus service between the Saltash and Plymouth sides of the crossing.  

The aim of the new service, which will provide two additional buses during the day and one bus during the evening and overnight is to enable pedestrians to cross the bridge and maintain social distancing, while also providing space inside the buses for class 1 and 2 mobility scooters and a small number of bikes.

The buses will run every 15 minutes between 6am and 7pm during the day and every 30 minutes in the evenings and overnight.

tamar bridge

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to partner with Tamar Crossings.

“We are looking forward to working together to ensure a smooth and reliable service to assist with crossings whilst this period of essential work is undertaken.”

James Church, Customer Experience Manager for Plymouth Citybus

More information:

Details of the latest service information will be published on the Plymouth Citybus website, with updates on their social media channels.

The service will also be supported by Plymouth Citybus’s Customer Experience Team who will be on hand to answer any public enquiries and advise of any service updates. 

In line with current Government advice on travelling on public transport, people using both the shuttle buses and the Plymouth Citybus service will be required to wear face coverings.

All pedestrians, cyclists and those using mobility scooters are advised to use either the shuttle bus or the Plymouth Citybus service (which enables them to take their vehicles in the bus with them) to cross the bridge.

This is particularly important for cyclists as it helps them to avoid the unnecessary hazard of cycling through the heavy traffic on the bridge during morning and evening commutes. 

Officials will be reviewing both services throughout the programme of works on the main deck and will make adjustments if necessary.

torpoint ferries

"While we recognise that the closure of one of the lanes on the main deck will inevitably have an impact on local traffic, the current levels of traffic are still well below the normal levels for this time of year.  This will help to moderate any delays.

"Continuing with the project will also help provide employment for local workers and generate income for local suppliers, as well as avoiding any potential financial costs from delaying the contract.

"We would like to thank our users for their patience and support while we carry out these essential engineering works.  We will continue to closely monitor site progress, the wider coronavirus situation and the latest Government advice."

Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee

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