Temple Footpath Bridge is a pedestrian bridge near Hurley across the River Thames just above Temple Lock. Constructed in 1989 for the walkers of the Thames Pathway it is the longest spanning hardwood bridge in Britain. H+R were appointed to determine the condition of its timber elements and to report on any structural issues discovered during our investigation.
Site investigation was carried out in two phases of work. Phase 1 included the investigation of the decking, hand rails and upper longitudinal and cross-beams via micro/resistance drilling and deep moisture content investigation as well as microscope analysis of timber samples taken for species identification. Phase 2 included a more technically challenging investigation of the bridge’s lower structural framework. This was conducted via the removal of decking boards and the lowering of H+R team members down beneath the bridge on a mechanical winch-based gantry system. Once down below a thorough examination of the previously inaccessible structure could be carried out.
How we solved the problem
H+R discovered during our investigatory works widespread decay to the hardwood decking boards as well as small pockets of decay to the hand rail structures creating a health and safety risk. These were then swiftly dealt with by the Environment Agency. No significant timber decay was detected to the bridge main structural elements; however, some structural movement/settlement and deflection of the bridge’s longitudinal beams and its in-built compression pads were noted and this information was passed to the team of Structural Engineers to be acted upon.