New Bridges West of Gloucester
17th January 2004
After just over twentyfive years of useful life, the twin concrete cantilever road bridges taking the A417 over the east channel of the River Severn were replaced in 1999-2000 by new bridges based on haunched steel beams.
At this point, three concrete bridges have connected Alney Island with the east bank at the end of Westgate Street, leading to the City of Gloucester.
The outer bridges are the west-bound and east-bound carriageways of the A417 - the central one is a footbridge. The pictures below show the old east-bound road bridge and the footbridge. The deck of the footbridge did not follow the line if the road bridges because it curves down to a footpath that goes under those bridges. This arrangement created a rather untidy appearance to the trio of bridges, but it avoided having steps at each end.
Old road bridge Foot bridge
The first two pictures below show the new east-bound A417 road bridge, just after it was erected in March 2000. The third picture shows a sad sight - all that's left of one of the old bridges - a pile of stressing cables and fixtures. Some of the pictures were taken under flood conditions. The builders of Gloucester wisely refrained from building much of it near the river, which frequently floods a large area. But there are a few streets of houses on Alney Island which desperately need some protection, as they are flooded almost every year. Unfortunately, each new year fails to bring any significant new development. The other pictures show various views of the three bridges.
Quite near the new bridges, west of Gloucester, and close to the point where a lock connects Gloucester docks to the east channel of the river Severn, a wooden footbridge spans the channel. It comprises two slightly curved beams, on edge, made of wooden spars joined together. This bridge provides access to the island and to a car-park. The picture shows it with an old dock building in the background. The building is now occupied by antique shops.
New Llanthony bridge
In 2004, the east Severn channel at Gloucester gained a new bridge near Llanthony road, as part of the new western by-pass.
Links to Other Web-sites and Books
Visit Severn bridges book for details of a very useful book by Chris Witts, who has spent much of his working life on the River Severn. This book, called "A Century of Bridges", includes information, a grid reference, and a drawing by the author for every bridge, even including notes about demolished bridges and some history. A Century of Bridges, ISBN 0 9532711 0 2, is published by River Severn Publications, Gloucester.
Another very interesting book by the same author is called "Along the Severn from Source to Sea", ISBN 1 873877 31 5. This book is published by Reardon Publications, Leckhampton, Glos.