The Double Deck proposal

The proposal currently being put forward by LBHF for the "full restoration" of the bridge is for the construction of a temporary double-decked "truss", which would allow pedestrians, people on bicycle and motor traffic to cross the river once again, while the bridge itself is repaired.

The proposal for a temporary double deck bridge by COWI and Foster+Partners

The proposal for a temporary double deck bridge by COWI and Foster+Partners (Click to zoom in)

The temporary structure is a clever design, it must be said. It is supported by the bridge's existing piers, and is not connected with the roadway at all, so no weight is taken by the bridge.

The plan is to build the temporary double-deck truss off site, then move it onto the bridge site from each end, joining the two halves in the middle. Once this is done, people will be able to use the truss. Meanwhile, sections of the old roadway will be separated from the bridge, and taken away on barges to be repaired off site. The chains will also be removed so they can be restored off site.

Once all the parts of the bridge have been repaired (or rebuilt), they will be brought back to the bridge and raised into place. Finally, the truss will be removed and the bridge will be reopened to traffic.

More about the temporary structure

It has two decks; the upper deck is a roadway for cars and buses, while the lower deck is for pedestrians and people with bicycles. At present it's unclear whether people with bikes are going to be encouraged to ride them, or expected to push them across the bridge.

The plans show that when buses cross, they will need the whole width of the road as they pass through the two arches of the bridge. It's unclear how the cars using the road are going to make way for them to do this.

As for the experience of people using the lower deck, the architects say they have done as much as they can to make it as light and un-noisy as possible. However, it's hard to see how it will be anything other than gloomy and unpleasant, with the noise, smell and pollution of the traffic on the upper deck.

So, what's the problem?

Find out on the next page