FaulknerBrowne Architects’ design takes inspiration from the world-famous Bailey Bridge; a portable, steel-truss bridge, designed and developed by Rotherham-born civil engineer, Donald Bailey. The design was used by the military throughout Europe during the Second World War.

The new bridge is for the Forge Island development, part of Rotherham Council’s regeneration of the town centre.

Forge Island Bridge has been lifted into place

It is being delivered through a partnership between the council, Muse and contractor Bowman & Kirkland.

Forge Island Bridge

The 46m-long bridge, which weighs 86t, was manufactured and installed by SH Structures. A crane was erected and rigged over a period of two days, ready for the installation of the bridge, which took one hour.

Forge Island Bridge

The wider project team also includes Arup, Helm Consulting, Arcadis and Re-form Landscape Architecture.

The new structure’s diamond truss steel design – which is synonymous with Bailey Bridges - is clad with red/brown perforated steel panelling to fit with the colour of planned Forge Island buildings. This is another nod to the history of the area, which housed a steel forge in the 19th century.

The bridge will provide pedestrians and cyclists with a crossing from the town centre across the River Don to a new waterside development that will feature places to eat, a cinema and a hotel, all set within new public spaces.

Andrew Fairest, project director at Muse, said: “This is an important milestone for the whole Forge Island development, as we link this new waterfront destination to the Rotherham community, making sure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy what Forge Island has to offer.

“Rotherham’s engineering heritage was a wonderful starting point for the Muse team, offering a rich seam of inspiration and shaping our thinking around Forge Island. The bridge is a key part of this exciting new chapter in Rotherham’s story, linking the past with the present and future.”

Councillor Denise Lelliott, Rotherham Council’s cabinet member for jobs and economy, said: “This major milestone not only shows that the Forge Island development scheme is forging ahead, is it also showcases a symbolic connection between Forge Island and the heart of the town centre. Once Forge Island opens, this bridge will be the main gateway from the cinema, hotel and restaurants to the rich heritage and culture of the town centre, and I am sure that my footsteps will be a few of thousands.”

Over the next few weeks, a podium is being built on site, which will elevate the scheme out of the floodplain of the River Don. Work will then begin to construct the buildings and new landscaped public spaces, including a stepped amphitheatre beside Rotherham Lock.