Both companies are working in partnership, to replace the footbridge, as part of VolkerHighways’ highways infrastructure framework with Medway Council.
The original footbridge was located on the west side of Gillingham train station, spanning the 8 metre deep railway cutting between Chatham and Gillingham train stations.
Preparation works for the project began in early 2020, with the council, VolkerHighways, VolkerFitzpatrick and additional bridge specialists, to ensure the works were completed to a high standard, on time and within budget.
Works to remove the footbridge started in early April, with VolkerFitzpatrick constructing the new in-situ reinforced concrete foundations, which were located at the rear of the existing bridge foundation supports and constructed during normal daytime working, outside of the Network Rail boundary.
To ensure the safety of the team and members of the public, VolkerHighways closed footways, implemented pedestrian diversions, and put in place local road closures.
New improved footbridge
Cllr Phil Filmer, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, said: “I am pleased that the new improved footbridge in Green Street, Gillingham, is now open. It is testament to the hard work of our partners that works on the bridge were completed sooner than expected. This project is a great example of collaborative working with VolkerHighways, VolkerFitzpatrick, Nusteel and Network Rail. The new bridge is wider, which will make it easier for pedestrians and wheelchair users to pass others, and new lighting has been installed.”
Well planned and executed
Mark Taylor, VolkerFitzpatrick’s contracts manager, said: “This was a very well planned and executed footbridge replacement, involving multiple contractors, that all worked in true collaboration. The health and safety management has been a credit to all those on site, with everyone embracing our behavioural safety programme, Network Rail’s lifesaving rules and other Southern Shield initiatives, to ensure we send everyone home safe at the end of each shift.”
Opening a week ahead of schedule
Sohail Hussain, VolkerHighways’ project manager, said: “We are pleased to have completed this project to a very high safety and quality standard. Communication and coordination between both VolkerHighways and VolkerFitzpatrick was excellent, showcasing the benefits of working collaboratively across VolkerWessels UK, evidenced by the bridge opening a week ahead of schedule.”
Once the new bridge was installed, VolkerHighways reinstated the footway paving, street lighting columns and street furniture and handed back the site to Medway Council for opening to the public