Client / Somerset County Council
Budget / GBP 1.3million
Stage / Completed 2011
Winner British Construction Industry Awards 2012
Finalist Structural Steel Design Awards 2012
Finalist IStructE Awards 2012
Won in Competition 2007
Opened in autumn 2011, this new urban highway bridge across the River Tone in Taunton is a key part of a major re-development scheme involving the urban and landscape design of the surrounding areas. The bridge is a very prominent artifact in the centre of Taunton and has significant impact on a public realm that is in part characterised by scheduled and listed historic landscaping and buildings.
Given the sensitive nature of the site – and in what could be considered as a reversal of the normal approach to highways structures – in visual terms the bridge has been conceived as a footbridge that also happens to carry a busy road. The design is a subtle reworking of a twin arch form with carefully balanced proportions and slender edge detailing to minimise the visual mass of the bridge, in keeping with the picturesque nature of the site.
The slenderness of the legs in the skeletal tied arch is achieved by using the kite-shaped cross-members to provide rotational restraint and stiffness to the assembly. These neatly accommodate the stainless steel hangers which nestle in the openings and form a fan-shaped array in elevation.
The bridge carries a main road, two cycle tracks and two footways over the river. The deck and walkway are intended to be understated and crisp, to accentuate the lightness and simplicity of the silhouette. The footways are cantilevered on the sides of the structure to maximise enjoyment of the river and open views for pedestrians and to physically separate them from the busy roadway.
Night time lighting is provided by discrete low level light sources illuminating the pedestrian walkways, whilst the arch is lit by low voltage uplighters that trace the arcs of the structural members.