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Hartford Blue Bridge

Hob Uid: 1568082
Location :
Cheshire West And Chester
Cheshire West And Chester
Grid Ref : SJ6470271318
Summary : Hartford Blue Bridge was constructed in 1938 to enable traffic to bypass Northwich and to enable boats to navigate the Weaver Navigation (see HOB UID 1340298) more easily. It replaced an older, narrower, single-span stone bridge. In conjunction with construction of the new bridge, the road was widened.The Hartford Blue Bridge is a single-span road bridge carrying the dual-lane A556 (Northwich Bypass) across the Weaver Navigation at Hartford, Cheshire. The bridge has a riveted steel girder construction (painted blue) with a low-arched span flanked by pedestrian walkways. Tall Art Deco-style concrete abutments at each end bear the Cheshire coat of arms. It has been suggested that the bridge's central section was originally designed to be raised by 10ft to enable taller boats to pass underneath, but no lifting mechanism survives.
More information : Hartford Blue Bridge was constructed in 1938 to enable traffic to bypass Northwich and to enable boats to navigate the Weaver Navigation (see HOB UID 1340298) more easily. It replaced an older, narrower, single-span stone bridge. In conjunction with construction of the new bridge, the road was widened.

The Hartford Blue Bridge is a single-span road bridge carrying the dual-lane A556 (Northwich Bypass) across the Weaver Navigation at Hartford, Cheshire. The bridge has a riveted steel girder construction (painted blue) with a low-arched span flanked by pedestrian walkways. Tall Art Deco-style concrete abutments at each end bear the Cheshire coat of arms. It has been suggested that the bridge's central section was originally designed to be raised by 10ft to enable taller boats to pass underneath, but no lifting mechanism survives.

The bridge was proposed for listing in 2012, but was rejected after an initial assessment as it did not meet the criteria for addition to the list for the following reasons:
Architectural and design quality: although the Art Deco-style abutments provide some level of architectural interest, overall Hartford Blue Bridge is modestly detailed and functional in its design.
Technological innovation: unlike other listed road bridges of a contemporary date, such as the Middlesborough Tees (Newport) Bridge (Grade II), the Hartford Blue Bridge does not display any technological or design innovation.
Date: the Hartford Blue Bridge lacks an early date and other bridges on the Weaver Navigation have greater claims to special interest, such as Hayhurst Bridge and Town Bridge, Northwich (both constructed in 1899 and listed Grade II), which are believed to be the earliest electrically-operated swing bridges in Britain. (1)

According to drawings made for Joseph Parks and Sons of Northwich, the constructors, a rise and fall platform was proposed for use during construction only, allowing vessels to pass beneath the temporary scaffolding required for steelworks. It is not known if this temporary platform was installed but, almost certainly, the myth of the rise and fall section has come from that drawing. (2)

Customer comment recieved January 2017: Rise and fall centre section- Speculation regarding this mysterious centre section has questioned whether it existed and was removed, or whether it was planned and never constructed. Based on documented evidence I would like to offer an alternative hypothesis: That the design for the completed bridge never included a permanent rise and fall platform, either in the pre-planning draft or final plan. In their agreement with Cheshire County Council, the Weaver Navigation Trustees stipulated ‘(that) under no circumstances shall the County Council be permitted to reduce the available headroom by more than two feet below the soffit of the present Arch (old bridge) .......and make arrangements necessary to permit (access for) the SS “Price (sic) of Denmark†... at all times’. Of course this presented construction problems for the steel erectors (Parks and Sons, Northwich), which had to be resolved. I have a copy of the drawing (courtesy of Cheshire West CC) showing the rise and fall platform that was to be used during construction only. The platform was not an integeral part of the bridge, just a movable construction platform. This is possibly the source of the the idea that the bridge itself was to incorporate a movable road deck.(3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : UDS Non-Designation case
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Source Number : 2
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Email correspondence 05-AUG-2015
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : Built 1938
Monument End Date : 1938
Monument Start Date : 1938
Monument Type : Road Bridge, Footbridge, Arch Bridge
Evidence : Extant Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 473195
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SJ 67 SW 44
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1340298
Relationship type : Is referred to by

Related Activities :