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Floating Bridges on the Canal


Heartland

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Near Bridge 48 on the Macclesfield Canal there was a floating bridge that provided access to the canal cottage and was kept when not in use by the cottage. Were there other examples of this type of infrastructure?

Edited by Heartland
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Do floating sections if towpath count?

 

There is one on the Rochdale at a motorway overbridge that doesn't have a permanent towpath.  A floating one can be moved in to connect the towpaths at either end of the overbridge.

 

The idea is that with it  in place narrow beam craft can still go though, but broad beam craft can not.  To let the latter through it has to be dragged out to give the full width of water in the bridge.

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A temporary one in 2012. Stainforth and Keadby Canal. The bridge was being built to supply a huge wind farm being built. A floating bridge was being used in the construction of the bridge. Powered by a tug when boats needed to pass. 10 years ago now and no longer exists, so historical and heritage!

 

floating-bridge1.JPG.cb37be0c2aff3c11bf56a42b723c684b.JPG

 

floating-bridge2.JPG.44da59bbc062fe06035709a42d17ec3e.JPG

 

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies
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1 hour ago, Tony Brooks said:

Not really relevant but don't the Weaver swing bridges float on water in the pier.

They have flotation tanks which carry part of the bridge weight, but some is still carried on the ball race, which provides for positive positioning. So the amount of flotation support varies with the river level.

I think that Barton Swing Bridge and Swing Aqueduct on the Manchester Ship Canal are the same.

Edited by David Mack
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1 hour ago, alan_fincher said:

Do floating sections if towpath count?

 

There is one on the Rochdale at a motorway overbridge that doesn't have a permanent towpath.  A floating one can be moved in to connect the towpaths at either end of the overbridge.

 

The idea is that with it  in place narrow beam craft can still go though, but broad beam craft can not.  To let the latter through it has to be dragged out to give the full width of water in the bridge.

Also where the Limehouse Cut passes under the A12 by Bow Locks - there was previously no towpath here and you had to cross the 2x3 lane dual carriageway at road level!

 

For a long time there was a floating towpath on the Regents Canal at Kings Cross while the goods yards north of the canal were being redeveloped.

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14 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

Do floating sections if towpath count?

 

There is one on the Rochdale at a motorway overbridge that doesn't have a permanent towpath.  A floating one can be moved in to connect the towpaths at either end of the overbridge.

 

The idea is that with it  in place narrow beam craft can still go though, but broad beam craft can not.  To let the latter through it has to be dragged out to give the full width of water in the bridge.

 

Sounds like the ideal solution to the widebeam problem on the North Oxford... 🤣

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In Thames Waters, Roger Pilkington comments on an unofficial floating bridge that was moved out of the way for him when they ventured up the Kennet in the early 1950s, somewhere around Theale I think. It connected two parts of a factory and the company decided that a pedestrian floating pontoon that could me moved out of the way was a great convenience to them without contravening the right of navigation. He reports that they moved it, in an obliging andc cheerful manner, in a matter of minutes (and also that they hardly ever had to do so!)  

The factory further towards Newbury that had dumped a load of wire in the canal were nothing like so obliging. 

 

I seem to recall that the Torpoint Ferries across the Tamar are known locally as floating bridges, although they are in fact chain ferries

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Not on a canal but thought might be of interest. This is the floating bridge at the entrance to Curaçao harbour . The whole thing has to be opened for ships to pass through, this one is a modern replacement for the one I first saw in 1958 from a Shell Tanker.

B184B4BC-8C3E-4DC9-8AF8-C29F656FDE58.jpeg

FFE8A088-50CA-46DF-A72A-392907962F43.jpeg

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They were quite common on the continental navigable rivers - especially after the 2WW. The ones illustrated here are at Sobieszewo on the Vistula, now replaced by a normal bridge, but it still shows up on Google maps. The second is on the Francis Canal in Serbia, so a floating bridge on a conventional canal. The photo was taken in 1997, so I am not sure if it is still in operation.

1996 Sobieszewo 198.jpg

1997 Francis Canal 125 floating bridge.jpg

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We built one for the 1987 IWA National Rally at Hawkesbury Junction, across the narrows on the Coventry Canal, as the existing footbridge was too small for the number of people crossing the canal. 

The bridge comprised the WRG work punt, with a deck of scaffold boards and parapets of scaffold poles, and scaffold ramps down to the towpath either side. There was a team of WRGies on permanent standby, so whenever a boat wanted to come through we could close the bridge to pedestrians, bow haul it out of the way, and put it back after the boat had passed.

  • Greenie 1
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16 hours ago, David Mack said:

We built one for the 1987 IWA National Rally at Hawkesbury Junction, across the narrows on the Coventry Canal, as the existing footbridge was too small for the number of people crossing the canal. 

The bridge comprised the WRG work punt, with a deck of scaffold boards and parapets of scaffold poles, and scaffold ramps down to the towpath either side. There was a team of WRGies on permanent standby, so whenever a boat wanted to come through we could close the bridge to pedestrians, bow haul it out of the way, and put it back after the boat had passed.


we used to do the same at Canalway Cavakcade where we had a floating platform across the entrance to the Paddington basin arm. It was knackering work moving it 🙁

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On 20/09/2022 at 16:18, David Mack said:

We built one for the 1987 IWA National Rally at Hawkesbury Junction, across the narrows on the Coventry Canal, as the existing footbridge was too small for the number of people crossing the canal. The bridge comprised the WRG work punt, with a deck of scaffold boards and parapets of scaffold poles, and scaffold ramps down to the towpath either side. There was a team of WRGies on permanent standby, so whenever a boat wanted to come through we could close the bridge to pedestrians, bow haul it out of the way, and put it back after the boat had passed.

L06422s.jpg.071f2824ebc2dd45132c73924fe36bcd.jpg

 

 

 

and a similar idea at the IWA Festival of Water 2015 Northampton, across Nothampton Lock River Nene

L2373_20150829_0010s.jpg.e15784344f9af654efcf72c522947347.jpg

 

 

L2375_20150829_0173s.jpg.8553050064a4936e37d5fc002ac80318.jpg

 

 

  

On 19/09/2022 at 19:27, alan_fincher said:

Do floating sections if towpath count?  There is one on the Rochdale at a motorway overbridge that doesn't have a permanent towpath.  A floating one can be moved in to connect the towpaths at either end of the overbridge.  The idea is that with it  in place narrow beam craft can still go though, but broad beam craft can not.  To let the latter through it has to be dragged out to give the full width of water in the bridge.

L1349_20070808_0167s.jpg

here, and in place under the M62 (some years and some rusty bits later)

L2392_20151002_0209s.jpg.fc4c626acbceee769dbf0da97f661a55.jpg

Edited by PeterScott
extra pics
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2 minutes ago, David Mack said:

I don't think @PeterScott was about to photograph those!

True.  For a discussion about how this floating bridge might have been constructed see here:

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-hellenic-studies/article/abs/construction-of-xerxes-bridge-over-the-hellespont/A2EBCE0450608778B2C84FC3D107BBC9

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This photo shows a floating Bailey bridge over the Rhine in 1946. It comes from the collection of Ben C Walls, whose family had a general cargo carrying business on the L&LC in the 1930s, their connection with the canal going back to the previous century. Ben Walls was involved in recruiting boatmen during the war, and set up the volunteer boatwomen scheme on the L&LC, as well as previously recruiting Irish labour for canals nationally. From 1946-1947, he was in charge of reopening German canals in the British Sector, and was the first post-war Chairman of the Rhine Commission.

B E Walls 016, Dusseldorf high level floating Bailey, 9 Feb 1946 during flood.jpg

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There is a floating bridge at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, which gives ground floor access to the Island warehouse. It is opened to allow boats in/out of the upper basin.

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