The 61m bridge spans the River Usk in South Wales

Knight Architects and WSP bridge wins planning go-ahead

Jez Abbott
18 Dec 2018

Knight Architects and WSP have won planning permission for a new timber-clad pedestrian and cycle bridge across the River Usk in South Wales.

The route will connect the town of Abergavenny and the village of Llanfoist, currently served by a Grade II* listed highway bridge which is too narrow. The bespoke 61m long, glue-laminated footbridge is in an environmentally sensitive location and required innovative engineering to address ecological and heritage constraints.

Monmouthshire County Council commissioned Knight Architects and engineering consultancy WSP to design a quieter, safer route away from the highway that allowed pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy green areas on both river banks.  

The route crosses the river 100m downstream of the existing bridge and comprises a two-span through beam (25m + 36m) with a timber and stainless-steel deck and a 3m wide U-shaped cross section. Side beams also act as parapets and are protected with geometric timber cladding that adds architectural interest in close views while an intermediate concrete support pier with four stainless steel arms gives sculptural elegance.

Approach ramps are designed as smooth green embankments that appear as a natural alteration of the existing topography, raising the bridge structure above the flood water levels. High-quality natural materials were chosen to provide a sustainable, safe and durable structure that ages in sympathy with the setting.

WSP project manager Steve Heaney said: “We can now advance to the next steps of delivery after being unanimously granted planning permission. One of our key objectives was to deliver a solution that will promote active travel for the local community and also address the onerous conditions which the public currently face.”

Knight Architects’ associate Héctor Beade-Pereda added: ““This design will not only provide a greatly improved crossing route for the local communities, but will be an elegant, understated structure clad in timber. We wanted to ensure the bridge will offer a harmonious addition to the sensitive setting, as well as being a functional structure.”

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