It’s all going swingingly

Walton Bridge: The riverside community is getting a great view a the long-awaited crossing takes shape

Section of the bridge supports

SWINGING: A crane lifts one section of the bridge supports into the air right next to Bridge Marine’s chandlery

MY good friend Jenny Beagle from Bridge Marine in Shepperton has had to put up with a lot running her business over the years.

Flooding, the economic downturn, moaning boat owners wanting everything done yesterday, losing half her car park when the works started on the new Walton Bridge, to name but a few, have all tested her patience.

But the pictures she sent me recently of one of the massive bridge supports being swung into place right above her chandlery must have had her with her heart in her mouth.

I think I might have trouble concentrating on listening to a customer with several tons of concrete and steel dangling a few feet over my head!

On a more positive note, the fact that the stylish bridge arches are going in shows just how well the contractors are getting on with the construction project.

From the artist’s impressions of the bridge it was always going to be a stunning addition to the existing range of river crossings but seeing the real thing coming together is really exciting.

The new crossing will be a striking improvement on the two old bridges at the site both of which were only supposed to be ‘temporary’.  They’ve served us well over the years but I can’t imagine too many people will be shedding tears to see them go when, finally, the new one is open for business and demolition of the old bridges gets under way.

And as a river user, I shall certainly enjoy having a wider space through which to navigate without those ugly old supports.

I’m not too sure how much difference the new bridge and its approaches will make to solving the traffic congestion that has always blighted those heading to and from Walton town centre. I guess the proof will be in the usage.

But of one thing, I am certain – from an aesthetic viewpoint, the new Walton Bridge will be a huge improvement.

Bridge support arch

NEARLY READY: One of the bridge support arches is nearly ready to be lifted into place

I’VE just come back from a week’s holiday at Falmouth in Cornwall and I always find it a wonderfully exciting place to visit.

While we were there, the town staged its annual working boat regatta when dozens of traditional gaff-rigged sailing boats take to the expansive waters of the Carrick Roads to battle it out.

The weather was kind with a fair breeze blowing in from the south-west and the boats, all with their colourful topsails, jostling for position. It’s enough to gladden the heart of any sailor and even if your feet are kept firmly on dry land, the spectacle is still breath taking.

AS the nights draw in and the temperature drops, I suppose we’ll have to think about taking our old Seamaster Admiral cabin cruiser Terra Nova out of the water soon.

But I’m hoping that we must just squeeze in one or two more escapades on the river before that happens.


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