The route will connect the town of Abergavenny and the village of Llanfoist, currently served by a Grade II* listed highway bridge of medieval origins which is too narrow to provide a comfortable crossing. Knight Architects and WSP, commissioned by Monmouthshire County Council, have designed a quieter and safer route away from the highway which allows pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the beautiful green areas on both river banks for leisure as well as for functional journeys.
The route crosses the river 100m downstream of the existing bridge and will become a valuable addition to the landscape, designed to respect the natural valley setting and stand in harmony with the rich heritage of the area. The structure comprises a two-span through beam (25m + 36m) with a timber and stainless-steel deck that has a 3m wide U-shaped cross section. These side beams also act as parapets and are protected with a geometric timber protective cladding that adds architectural interest in close views.
An intermediate concrete support pier with four stainless steel arms combines a sculptural elegance with a hydrodynamic shape, acting as an efficient cutwater to the significant flood waters which can be experienced along the Usk Valley. The approach ramps are designed as smooth green embankments that appear as a natural alteration of the existing topography, raising the bridge structure above the flood water levels.
The bridge design combines a geometry and scale that are respectful of the natural and historic context, while providing an attractive new public amenity that directly addresses the complex hydraulic characteristics of the area. The use of high-quality natural materials will age in sympathy with the setting and provide a sustainable, safe and durable structure.
Engineering and professional services consultancy WSP collaborated closely with Knight Architects on the scheme. The design process has involved a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment, extensive consultation with the public and stakeholders including Design Commission for Wales, complex hydrological assessments as well as the structural design of a unique and challenging structure.
The bespoke 61m long, glue-laminated footbridge is situated in an environmentally sensitive location and required innovative engineering to address the ecological and heritage constraints of the scheme. WSP has provided a sustainable structure that has been designed to be robust and resilient on a floodplain that is subjected to regular flooding.
Steve Heaney, Project Manager at WSP, said:
“It is with much excitement for those involved in the design, but more importantly the public and stakeholders, that we can now advance into the next steps of delivery after being unanimously granted planning permission.
One of our key objectives of the project was to deliver a solution which will promote active travel for the local community and also address the onerous conditions which the public currently face. We can now look forward to moving towards construction of this architecturally elegant, innovative and functional footbridge.”
Knight Architects’ Associate, Héctor Beade-Pereda, said:
“This project is particularly exciting for us as it will not only provide a greatly improved crossing route for the local communities, but will be an elegant, understated structure clad in timber – such a versatile material that is often underused in contemporary bridge structures. We wanted to ensure that the bridge will offer a harmonious addition to the sensitive setting, as well as being a functional structure which addresses the tricky site conditions and provides a more appropriate amenity for users.”
For further information, please contact Charlotte Evans on 020 7099 7829 / [email protected]
Notes to Editors
Client: Monmouthshire County Council
Bridge design: Knight Architects
Bridge engineering and other services (hydraulic analysis, planning, landscape design): WSP
WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Property & Buildings, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors as well as project delivery and strategic consulting services.
With 7,800 talented people in the UK and more than 43,600 globally, we engineer projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come. WSP has been involved in many high-profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, the re-development of London Bridge Station, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network.
About Knight Architects
Knight Architects is an architectural consultancy specialising exclusively in the field of bridge and infrastructure design, where it is recognised as a market leader within the UK and internationally.
Formed in 2006, the practice is founded on the unique experience, skills and passion for bridge design which Martin Knight has built up over more than twenty years in leading architecture and engineering practice. The award-winning studio of 20 now comprises a skilled team with extensive experience and market-leading skills working on world-class projects around the world, yet it remains true to its founding principles: that good design is vital and that memorable and beautiful solutions are based on a clear understanding of function, context, budget and time.
The practice believes that infrastructure is a very important component of both the built and natural environments – highly visible forms that have a significant impact on their locality – and its work has been recognised with awards for bringing community benefits, as well as for design, and received the Specialist Consultant of the Year Award at the NCE / ACE Consultants of the Year Awards 2015; the first time an architectural practice has been recognised in these engineering-focused awards. The practice was awarded BD Infrastructure Architect of the Year 2017.
Knight Architects is an RIBA Chartered Practice.