WORK is underway to renovate an historic bridge in a village near Worcester.

Worcestershire County Council engineers are working to fully repair and refurbish the Stanford bridge, which stands over the River Teme in the village of the same name.

The bridge, which is restricted to only pedestrians and cyclists, is an early example of reinforced concrete work and is a Grade II listed monument.

Repairs are needed to improve the condition of the structure and include a full refurbishment of the main span and brickwork flood arches. 

The works, delivered by Worcestershire County Council with their contractor and designers, Ringway and Jacobs, will not significantly change the visual look of the bridge with materials matching the existing as close to its original form as possible.

Councillor Mike Rouse, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Stanford Bridge is an excellent example of the County’s concrete architectural infrastructure from early in the 20th century and is a unique part of our engineering heritage. 

"Thanks to county staff and our contractor, Ringway, getting on with the job, we should be able to re-open the bridge to pedestrians and cyclists in early Autumn. 

"This is great good news for people accessing from both sides.” 

The main challenge is delivering the work under the three-tonne weight limit, as the weight of the scaffold hanging off the bridge posed a risk to the structure. 

So, a phased approach will be taken, scaffolding the two end abutments first, transferring the weight off the main span, followed by the middle section.

This, together with alternative material such as aluminium, will keep the weight to a minimum.

The risk of falling debris is being prevented by a full encapsulation of the scaffolding.

The concrete bridge replaced a single span iron structure, a typical example of the transition of Iron bridges to the newer concept of reinforced concrete.

The bases of piers visible during low water levels are likely to be those of the brick bridge of the early 18th century.

The earliest recorded bridge in this location was a wooden one built in 1548.