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Sheffield structures some of the best maintained in country thanks to Streets Ahead

4th July 2017

Sheffield is home to some of the country’s best maintained structures, including bridges and subways, thanks to the Streets Ahead contract.

As part of a 25 year Highways Maintenance contract in the city, Sheffield can now enjoy safe, well-maintained and award-winning bridges for years to come.

In the past five years since the beginning of the contract, maintenance work of varying degrees has been undertaken on Sheffield’s 419 highway bridges and 203 footbridges. This has enabled Sheffield residents and commuters to travel safely around the city and benefit from an ongoing advanced maintenance programme.

Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet member for Environment and Street Scene at Sheffield City Council said: “Bridges form an integral part of Sheffield’s roads and pathways and since the Streets Ahead contract began, we’ve been able to invest in their maintenance and upkeep to ensure they remain safe for hundreds of years.

“With an increasing population, the improved strength of these structures means that our roads and footways can support the city’s continued growth and infrastructure.

“In addition, the work on our bridges has been recognised by the Institution of Civil Engineers, Yorkshire and Humber Region, on five occasions, which shows us that we’re really leading the way when it comes to maintaining our structures.”

Strengthening work on Smithy Bridge in Low Bradfield enabled local farmers and businesses to continue with their working day and pass over the bridge in heavy farming vehicles that prior to the works being completed, had been prohibited.

Cllr Victoria Talbot of Bradfield Parish Council said: “The strengthening of Smithy Bridge has enabled the local farmers and workers to get around the area efficiently and continue with their every-day work.

“Even during the works, locals were able to pass over the bridge safely and they spoke to the Streets Ahead operatives regularly who reassured them of their day to day plans.

“The safety and continued maintenance of this bridge is extremely important to the local area and we’re really grateful that Streets Ahead has been able to complete these vital works with minimal disruption.”

The work on Smithy Bridge involved installing steel reinforcing bars into narrow slots cut into the stone arch barrel. This method of strengthening was undertaken without the need to close the road resulting in minimal disruption to traffic as well as an increase in the bridges’ capacity for heavy loads.

The Bradfield area, which is popular with local ramblers, continues to welcome walkers who use the bridge regularly to cross the waterway leading off from the Damflask reservoir.

Christopher Hampson, Streets Ahead Civil Engineer, said: “Often, work on bridges goes unnoticed. This is largely because the majority of the work to maintain and strengthen highway bridges is carried out below the bridge whilst people pass overhead.

“As the city’s population increases, it becomes ever more important that our bridges are able to support an increased traffic flow and footfall.

“Many of the city’s bridges are hundreds of years old and haven’t received the attention they need for a long time and so their preservation and maintenance is crucial to ensure the city’s historic landscape remains.”

The result of work undertaken on bridges under the Streets Ahead contract has enabled the vast majority of Sheffield bridges to be classified as Very Good.

In recognition of the high standard of work ongoing in Sheffield as part of the Streets Ahead programme, five of the bridge strengthening schemes have been nominated for Institution of Civil Engineers Yorkshire and Humber Region Awards. All of which received a Certificate of Commendation or Excellence.

To find out more about the Streets Ahead contract visit: www.sheffield.gov.uk/streetsahead