CONSTRUCTION work on Wool bridge is under way. Although work started at the beginning of July, so far it has been focussed on removing the damaged stonework and clearing the site.

This week, however, the complex engineering work to stabilise, protect and repair the Grade II listed structure began.

A row of 44 sheet piles has been set into place as a wall of steel to protect the bridge from undermining by the river. These piles will also support a new concrete arch and wall, which will be built over the coming weeks.

The piles are four metres long and designed with an additional sacrificial thickness of steel to meet the 120 year design life – though as they will be completely submerged they are expected to last considerably longer.

When the piles have been pushed fully into the riverbed, the team on site will start to prepare the underside of the bridge – levelling the surface – and will also build temporary supports (centring) for the southern-most main arch so that one of the dislodged arch stones can be re-set.