The extensive refurbishment project will see the Old Bridge, New Bridge and Service Bridge, as well as the areas of Rochester and Strood Esplanades owned by the Rochester Bridge Trust, given a complete overhaul.
Bridge Clerk Sue Threader explained: “The Trust regularly carries out routine maintenance work, keeping the bridges clean and making minor repairs. This project is an opportunity to go beyond the day-to-day, tackling larger items before they become problems and generally improving the condition of the bridges for years to come.
“FM Conway was selected for this project following a rigorous competitive tendering process. The Trust was impressed by the commitment of the company to delivering high quality work while arranging the works to minimise disruption as far as possible.”
Work starts in April, when a site compound will be established on the Strood Esplanade. The refurbishment will be carried out in phases, tackling the New Bridge works first, then the Service Bridge, and completing those works before renovation begins on the Old Bridge. It ends with repair and complete refurbishment of the section of Rochester Esplanade from the bridges to the Castle Gate. Work beneath the bridge decks will be carried out throughout the programme.
Matt Smith, Structures Director at FM Conway, said: “We’re pleased to be extending our relationship with the Trust. As Term Maintenance Contractor for the structures, we understand what a vital transport link they are.
“This refurbishment contract will allow us to combine more significant interventions and repairs with day-to-day monitoring to ensure these bridges can be enjoyed by road users, pedestrians and tourists for years to come.”
The £8.5 million contract has been let by the Trust to FM Conway Ltd under the new NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract, and project management will be by the Bridge Engineer to the Trust, Arcadis (UK) Ltd.
The contract was drafted by Tim Knee-Robinson of TKR Consultancy Ltd, and it is believed this is one of the first times this contract has been used to procure bridge refurbishment works.
Tim Knee-Robinson explained: “NEC forms of contract facilitate the use of more effective project management procedures in controlling project outcomes, including those associated with time, cost and quality. They include the pro-active management of risk and change through regularly updated programmes.
“The contract also facilitates the development of a collaborative working relationship between the parties. This should ensure the Trust has greater certainty in achieving their objectives of minimising disruption to the public while the works are being undertaken and ensuring a safe working environment.”