This was an opportunity not to be missed if – like me – you are a civil engineer and a photographer. The old Church Road Bridge over the A13 between Sadlers Farm Junction and the Pitsea Flyover was being demolished todayas part of the junction improvement works. The highway that it crosses is being widened and the bridge was too small so a new bridge has been built – and is now open – and the old one removed.
It was a cold and wet morning but despite that I decided to go see what I could see. I expected the roads to be manic as the A13 was closed so I went on my bike. I also half expected not to be able to get anywhere near the bridge. I was wrong on both counts.
I cycled there through wind and rain and was very wet and cold when I arrived at around 9.45am. The A13 had only been closed since 5.00am but the demolition was already well advanced. A protective mat of granular material had been spread over the carriageway beneath the old bridge and the deck had been ‘dropped’ onto this mat by some means (not sure how) such as expanding agent or explosives or similar.
Once on the floor the deck beams and slab were at the mercy of half a dozen excavators with various tools including breakers and crushers (munchers) that were and continue to pulverise the concrete into small pieces for disposal off site. Before I left a number of the machines had started attacking the south abutment too. I expect the whole bridge will be down and out by the end of the day.
I bumped into the contractors project manager who was there supervising the works and taking his own set of photographs and we chatted awhile over the noise of the breakers. A number of others onlookers were also taking the opportunity to witness the spectacle. I watched for maybe an hour before the cold and wet got the better of me.
I visited the site and this bridge only a couple of days ago so you can see what the bridge looked like just before it was demolished here.
I have uploaded an album of photos to my picasaweb photo sharing website here. I have also included a selection of the better photos below which open to large versions in new window on click.