Wardown Park Suspension Bridge

Wardown Park, Luton

Refurbishment of Single span suspension

Wardown Park suspension bridge was built in 1908 and was last refurbished back in the 1950s. A visual safety inspection a few years ago found the bridge had severe corrosion, rotting deck timbers and cracking in the bearing towers. All this posed a risk to public safety and the bridge was closed in July 2012.

In 2015 Luton Borough Council commissioned the refurbishment of the bridge

with funding provided by the heritage lottery.

The works included:

  • Refurbishing the transverse steel supports
  • Replace the existing catenary suspension cables
  • Refurbishing the concrete towers
  • Replacing the existing support bearings
  • Refurbishing the steel deck sections
  • Shot blasting
  • Painting
  • New timber decking

A floating pontoon was used and the original 4 bolted sections were removed in two half sections. They were lowered down onto the pontoon, floated to side of the lake and craned onto the bank. All refurbishment was carried out on site.

On inspection, the steel was found to be in a very poor condition which meant replacing all 4 lower cord sections and associated lattice connections.

Each corner was corroded and replaced with steel sections, all of the structure was shot blasted and the new transverse sections were bolted into position and repainted to a specified colour.

The existing bearings on the four towers were found not fit for use and new modern sliding guided bearings were sourced and replaced. New caterary cables were installed. The concrete towers were recast at Topbond yard as precast sections and were reinstalled on site to match the existing structure.

The repaired sections were floated back out using a 60 ton city crane. Each section was lifted back into positions and reattached to the catenary cables via the existing hangers. Once in position the cables were tightened to support the deck in its final position. Anti-slip timber deckings were installed and the approach joints were replaced.

The bridge was reopened by the Mayor of Luton Cllr Dave Taylor.

Project time: 3 months
Value: £270,000

Completed September 2015