Ferry Suspension Bridge – Burton on Trent

Restoration and strengthening of a Grade II listed heritage footbridge in Burton on Trent.

The challenge

In 2014, concerns were raised around the condition of this 75m three span Victorian wrought iron ‘self-anchoring’ suspension footbridge. Staffordshire County Council asked Inertia Consulting to carry out a complex testing, capacity assessment and strengthening design on the structure, to restore the bridge to its former glory and make it strong and durable for future generations’ enjoyment.

Engineering Consultancy

To gather the information we needed to inform our designs, we first accessed the bridge using pontoons and a boat on the river, as well as using diving teams to inspect the underwater structures. We next designed and supervised a £1.3 million strengthening scheme to restore the bridge and make it safe for pedestrians, cyclists and river users.

The project was a huge success and our sympathetic approach to the restoration works earned Inertia Consulting three prestigious industry awards.

‘This project brought together many parties who worked to their strengths to collectively progress this complex scheme from establishing the problems and finding the right solution to undertaking the works in order to provide the client and all stakeholders with the best long-term solution to ensure the future of a valuable piece of heritage.’

David Hughes, Senior Structures Engineer, Staffordshire County Council

The outcome

Thanks to the coordinated approach taken by the project team, plus the exceptional support from the local community, the Ferry Bridge restoration project was a huge success. Our sympathetic approach to this important heritage structure means that the original fixtures are still in place, but only need to support some of their own weight. The new structures look just like the original parapet but are capable of taking the full load of foot and cycle traffic across the bridge.

Our innovative approach to the initial capacity assessment process, where we chose to look at each structural support system separately whilst accounting for their interdependence, greatly reduced our client’s costs when the time came to carry out the strengthening works.

On 20 October 2016, Ferry Bridge was officially reopened by County Councillor Philip Atkins. The opening ceremony – which featured speeches, a balloon release and the unveiling of the new plaques – was attended by hundreds of people, which is testament to how much this historic structure means to the people of Burton on Trent.

The project team
  • Staffordshire County Council – Client
  • Amey/Currall and Lewis & Martin Ltd – Main Contractors
  • Inertia Consulting Ltd – Designer
  • Amey – CAT III Checker
  • Amey – Project Manager
  • East Staffordshire Borough Council, Burton Civic Society, Ferry Bridge Working Group, Historic England and English Heritage – Support team
  • Friends of the Ferry Bridge – Fundraisers / Campaigners
The awards
  • Institution of Civil Engineers West Midlands Award 2017
  • Institution of Highway Engineers Mercia Region Judges’ Merit Award 2017
  • Institution of Structural Engineers Midland Counties Award for Pedestrian Bridges 2016