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The structure, made famous by Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, suffered an unfortunate collapse in early 2018. Erosion of the bridge foundations caused the arch and wall to slip into the river requiring immediate action to make this well used crossing point safe.
Following the partial collapse of the historic structure, rock armour was used to temporarily stabilise the wall and divert the flow of water around the damaged section. This allowed Dorset Council time to gain the necessary consents from Historic England and the Environment Agency for the permanent repair work.
Low water levels over the summer made it possible to safely access the site and allow engineers to sympathetically repair the Grade II* listed structure. The bridge has been significantly enhanced structurally using modern materials which have been clad in stone recovered from the watercourse and new stone sourced from the same bed used to construct the bridge 500 years ago.
The project showcases the impact that civil engineers can have on rural communities, when passion and commitment are put before programme and cost.
David is the Network Operations Service Manager at Dorset Highways. He studied River and Coastal Engineering at the University of the West of England before starting his Career in Civil Engineering with the Environment Agency.
In 2013 he moved to Dorset Highways as a Site Agent to initial manage their Structural Maintenance programme before moving onto manage the Authority’s Structures programme. In his current role as Operations Manager David directs all contractual and commercial management activities within the Highway Service.
Richard has worked for Dorset Highways for 10 years, starting his career as an Assistant Engineer and progressing to a Project Team Manager where he leads a team of Highway Engineers. Richard graduated from the University of Warwick and became a Chartered Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 2015.
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