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TOPIC: Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames

Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 11 Nov 2017 07:22 #95650

We passed under the bridge yesterday and can confirm the scaffold has been removed

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Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 09 Nov 2017 19:10 #95639

I have just seen on another forum that the height restriction has been removed.

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Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 23 Oct 2017 19:11 #95470

Work now extended to 10th November

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Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 07 Sep 2017 08:38 #94909

Thank you for your enquiry.

The works are urgently required because it is an agricultural bridge, and it is needed for animal husbandry purposes.

Whilst unused there is little danger from the bridge. However, the local landowner requires access to and from his cattle, and to move the cattle from the grazing land.

To ensure the health and wellbeing of the livestock and to prevent injury should the animals have to cross the bridge we need to complete the works at the earliest possible date.

I hope that clarifies the situation

Russell Robson
Waterways Team Leader - Team B

Cows vs cost that's the conundrum. I think this team leader and his manager need to find the same hymn sheet to sing from.

"We are very sensitive to the need to limit any disruption to our boating customers and always work hard to do this"( unless a farmer growls at us)

"Unfortunately, this would have increased the cost of the work by more than £100,000. Clearly, this would not have been a responsible use of our funding" ( A bit of contractor Management is required to bring costs to an acceptable level) Also makes me wonder what the total cost of the works is for this small wooden bridge, used by one man and his dog (6 weeks work by a specialist team). Can that in anyway be reasonable use of public funding in the first place.

Anyway looks like the cows have won
The following user(s) said Thank You: Andy Soper

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Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 06 Sep 2017 21:24 #94907

  • Andy Soper
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My response to a follow up reply from EA. I am meeting with Julia and Barry next week to discuss Customers and Communication.

Hello Barry,

Thank you, not the result that I hoped for, but thank you for the explanation expanded further by your technicians concern about bad weather in October. I hope their concerns are unfounded.

Best Wishes
Andy Soper
Chairman, DBA - The Barge Association,
mv Neeltje
Cormorant
Spade Oak Reach
Cookham SL6 9RQ

+44 (0) 7940598364 or +44 (0) 303 666 0636
You don't need a barge to join - a dream of barging in Europe will do'. See www.barges.org

On 6 September 2017 at 10:55, Russell, Barry <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote:
Dear Andy,

Thank you for forwarding your member’s comments.

I do understand that temporarily reducing the headway under Clifton Lock bridge will affect the cruising plans of some boaters, but I would like to reassure you that we have done all we can to avoid this, and as soon as became obvious that it was unavoidable, to limit the impact. We are very sensitive to the need to limit any disruption to our boating customers and always work hard to do this. Unfortunately, in this instance, a combination of factors left us with no reasonable alternative option.

Knowing that our in-house team would not have capacity to work on two large projects simultaneously, we looked into the cost of employing external contractors to carry out the bridge repairs. Unfortunately, this would have increased the cost of the work by more than £100,000. Clearly, this would not have been a responsible use of our funding.

We also reviewed the schedule for all three projects, to see if there was any scope to compress the overall timetable and reduce the total amount of time that river restrictions would need to be in place.

Because the bridge repairs need to carried out from platforms supported by scaffolding, the opinion of our engineers is that any delay to the mid-September start date significantly increases the risk of poor weather resulting in unsafe working conditions causing stoppages. This would push back the completion date, prolong the inconvenience to boaters, and have knock-on implications for the successful and timely completion of the lock sheeting projects. Delays to either of the lock-sheeting projects would also increase inconvenience for boaters, especially if the work overran into the start of next year’s boating season. We would do all we could to avoid this of course, but that too would have potentially significant cost implications.

We accept that this is not an ideal situation, but please be assured our waterways and operations teams have worked closely together to explore all possible options for limiting the inconvenience to boaters - including delaying one of the re-sheeting projects until next season as well as maximising the potential headroom available during the works.

On balance however, after careful consideration of all the implications, both teams agreed that the plan we are now following provides more control over the risks and costs than the alternatives, and is therefore the best one under the circumstances.

Best Regards

Barry Russell MBE
Waterways Manager │Thames Area

Environment Agency – Shepperton Waterways Office
Lock Island, Shepperton
Middlesex, TW17 9LW

Tel Internal: 59590
Tel External: 0203 025 9590
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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From: Andy Soper [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Sent: 01 September 2017 21:14
To: Russell, Barry <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>; Simpson, Julia <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Cc: Michael Shefras <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>; tony riley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>; Mike Chambers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: Clifton lock cut bridge

Hello both,

One of the more considered responses from one of my members

'September and October are two of the best months on the river. A little quieterand often fine weather. No-one can object when an emergency closes the navigation that just happens, but it just appears to me that the individuals who are consenting to these urgent works need backbone replacements, or a bit of real life experience.

I wonder what the reaction of the EA managers would be if we sat on Clifton Lock layby for 6 weeks waiting for the works to be completed.

Having been under the bridge a number of times this year, I agree it does need attention but it is not about to fall down and a net would prevent any timbers falling if thats the worry, until works could be done during the winter season. Pedestrian access can be had over the lock gates and if the same contractor can't do two jobs at once get another contractor (its a small wooden bridge not the Hadron Collider)

Springing these surprises at this stage in the boating season is unacceptable, when alternative approaches are available and why aren't they (EA Navigation Managers) and their colleagues (Thames area operations managers) able to construct a coordinated stoppage plan. do they not talk to each other.

Unacceptable but I agree, sadly predictable. Rant over'

I don't think you even start to see us as customers ..........
.

Best Wishes
Andy Soper

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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
mv Neeltje
Coookham

Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 03 Sep 2017 06:48 #94842

Interesting that they say it would cost £100000 more to outsource the work, shows the value of keeping resources in house - unlike another major waterway management.

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Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 02 Sep 2017 18:12 #94840

Affects us too, having waited for the river to quieten down before going up river, we might just squeeze under with two inches clearance if the published dimension of 3.12m is accurate. Surely this was a known issue a while back.
I wonder how many others will now have to change their plans?

Richard

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Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 01 Sep 2017 22:06 #94828

September and October are two of the best months on the river. A little quieterand often fine weather. No-one can object when an emergency closes the navigation that just happens, but it just appears to me that the individuals who are consenting to these urgent works need backbone replacements, or a bit of real life experience.

I wonder what the reaction of the EA managers would be if we sat on Clifton Lock layby for 6 weeks waiting for the works to be completed.

Having been under the bridge a number of times this year, I agree it does need attention but it is not about to fall down and a net would prevent any timbers falling if thats the worry, until works could be done during the winter season. Pedestrian access can be had over the lock gates and if the same contractor can't do two jobs at once get another contractor (its a small wooden bridge not the Hadron Collider)

Springing these surprises at this stage in the boating season is unacceptable, when alternative approaches are available and why aren't they (EA Navigation Managers) and their colleagues (Thames area operations managers) able to construct a coordinated stoppage plan. do they not talk to each other.

Unacceptable but I agree, sadly predictable. Rant over

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Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 01 Sep 2017 21:08 #94824

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Sadly this is a typical knee-jerk response from EA Navigation managers today.

I have a meeting with his boss later this month and I will , again, try and explain the concept of 'customers' !!

Best wishes
Andy

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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
mv Neeltje
Coookham

Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 01 Sep 2017 20:50 #94821

How ridiculous. Our plans scuppered as well.

" as I explained previously and they therefore need our consent to do this" easy just say NO; thats not acceptable. Navigation authority my **se.

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Clifton Lock cut bridge - River Thames 01 Sep 2017 19:10 #94816

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The Harbour Master's Notice

Good afternoon

Please find attached an Environment Agency Harbourmaster's Notice for bridge works at Clifton Lock Cut Bridge. The works require a reduction in the headway under the bridge.

When: Monday 18 September to Monday 30 October 2017
Where: Clifton Lock Cut Bridge, 350 metres upstream of Clifton Lock
What’s happening: Repair works to Clifton Lock Cut Bridge involving a reduced headway
The timbers on Clifton Lock Cut Bridge have failed leaving the structure in an unsafe condition. Urgent repairs are required to make the bridge safe for both boats passing underneath and those who rely on the bridge as a river crossing.
In order to replace the timbers scaffolding is required around the bridge deck. This will reduce the available headway under the bridge from 4.06 metres to 3.12 metres. Please see attached Harbourmaster’s notice for full details and local bridge heights.

For more information on river restrictions, please see our webpage: www.gov.uk/guidance/river-thames-conditions-closures-restrictions-and-lock-closures

Thames Waterways Team
Environment Agency

Their longer explanation:
Dear TNUF member,

Further to my email of 17 August on this issue, I can now confirm that work on the bridge will start on Monday 18 September. These works will continue through to Monday 30 October.

Although the bridge allows my staff to access the weir complex at Clifton Lock to manage water levels, it is not owned by my River Thames Waterways Operations department; it is owned by our Thames area Operations Management department. They are carrying out, and funding, the work. It does not form part of my 2017-18 investment programme.

Like us, our Operations colleagues carry out regular engineering surveys of all the structures they own. Recent surveys of Clifton Bridge have highlighted an accelerated deterioration in its condition. Timber from the bridge has been found in the river, and it has now been condemned for any vehicle use – including emergency service vehicles.

Operations will need to erect scaffolding in order for the work to be carried out. This will reduce the headway under the bridge as I explained previously and they therefore need our consent to do this.

In planning these works, I was looking for a working plan that would not cause a restriction in headroom and thereby not cause a restriction to boat traffic. This was considered in detail and there was no practical solution to do the work without the scaffolding that wouldn’t have entailed greater restrictions for traffic.

Following discussions with Operations, local landowners, boating businesses and feedback from yourselves, we have agreed to allow work to start on 18 September. This is later than the works were originally planned, but we listened to the feedback and pushed for the dates to be following the key summer boating season. We have also have restricted the headway reduction to 0.94m, resulting in headroom of 3.12m beneath the scaffolding. This retains the same headway as that at Folly Bridge, meaning that all boats able to navigate under Folly bridge will also be able to pass under Clifton Bridge.

We did ask our Operations colleagues to explore the possibility of pushing back the start date further, potentially carrying it out at the same time as the lock gate re-sheeting works at Clifton lock, or at Shifford Lock further upstream. They have advised us that is not a viable option for a number of reasons, the key ones being:

· The Clifton Bridge repairs are being carried out by the same team of specialist in-house carpenters that will carry out the re-sheeting works at both Clifton and Shifford locks. The team are not able to carry out simultaneous projects without impacting on the duration of both and outsourcing the work would have incurred an additional cost to the taxpayer of over £100,000.


· Starting work on Clifton bridge any later than September 18 increases the likelihood that any delays will push back the start of one or both of the re-sheeting projects, not least because of the increased risk, if work continued beyond 30 October.

· Further delays to the start date makes it likely we will have to close the bridge completely due to the risk of timber falling onto boats and their occupants passing below.

I am sorry that we have not been able to move these works into the winter work programme, when river closures and other restrictions are planned and notified, but I hope that you will understand and support the decisions that we have had to make on this matter.
Thank you for your comments and feedback regarding these works. I will shortly be issuing a Harbourmaster’s Notice notifying boaters of the restriction supported by other communications to raise awareness. Any support you are able to give to this effort would be appreciated.

Regards

Barry Russell MBE
Harbourmaster – non tidal Thames

and my earlier objection to the restriction reflected by many other boaters :

Hello Barry,

Thank you for your promt reply.

I agree with Mike Chambers that until you give answers to his questions we cannot advise our members.

I had hoped to cruise upriver in Neeltje in the quieter months after the school holidays (currently we are escaping the melee on the Thames by hiding on the Basingstoke - a County Council funded navigation) and before the winter works began at the end of October. As her airdraft is 3.4 m your suddenly announced works will scupper my plans. This is the second year running that 'surprise' essential works have impacted on our river use. Last winter it was the stoppage in Old Windsor lock cut which delayed our planned slipping at Eel Pie.

I am at a loss to understand the urgency. The bridge crosses to an uninhabited island - except as shown on Google Earth - a few sheep. The lock house is on the mainland side of the cut, the Thames path runs along the mainland side of the cut.

You clearly had time to consult the 'Trade' but could not be bothered to contact your 8000 other customers, the motor boaters, represented by ATYC, TMBA, DBA, NABO and RBOA. Indeed -your email to TNUF is one of intent - not consultation.

As an individual my personal contribution to EA Navigation funds is £2256 per annum. It used to be argued that as we use our barge as a house we get 365 days use. Now that floating structures pay nothing for being used as houses my barge registration must be for navigating? I cannot navigate beyond Folly bridge and now you are proposing to limit my navigation to downstream of Clifton lock from the 'end of the school holidays'.

I look forward to a better solution than was found for the Old Windsor lock cut bridge last year.

(PS warning users about speed and wash checks in advance and giving day and reach should give your teams an easy ride!)

Best Wishes
Andy Soper

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Best Wishes
Andy Soper
mv Neeltje
Coookham
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