Dukes Meadows footbridge wins architectural prize

Image above: Dukes Meadows footbridge, underneath Barnes Railway Bridge

Bridge wins prestigious prize at New London Awards

The Dukes Meadows footbridge, which continues the Thames footpath underneath Barnes Railway Bridge, has won an architectural prize at the New London Awards in the Transport and Infrastructure category.

The footbridge was opened on 13 January this year. It was built so walkers would no longer need to take a 500m detour inland to get around the railway bridge to continue a walk along the river. The path makes access inclusive to more users, providing better-lit and safer access to wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and those with pushchairs.

Image above: Computer generated image of the bridge before it was built; Moxon Architects

“Its impact and value far surpass its physical boundary and construction cost”

The New London Awards judges said:

“One of the Mayor’s £53 million Liveable Neighbourhoods projects, the bridge improves infrastructure, accessibility, safety and leisure opportunities in the Dukes Meadows area.

“It plays a vital role in an active travel network connecting recreation amenities with public transport links on the far side of the river.

“Like all properly considered civic infrastructure, its impact and value far surpass its physical boundary and construction cost. With climate resilience and lifetime maintenance at the centre of design, the community will continue to benefit from the project for the next 120 years.”

Image above: The main span of the bridge was brought upstream on a barge from Tilbury docks and floated into position at high tide

“A real triumph of engineering to improve access for the community”

The bridge is one of the lowest carbon and most environmentally conscious bridges in the UK, according to its designer.

The main span was brought upstream on a barge from Tilbury docks in July 2022. Engineers floated the structure in at high tide and then, as the tide receded, the span settled on its foundations.

When it was opened earlier this year, Council Leader Shantanu Rajawat told The Chiswick Calendar:

“I think it’s marvellous, a real triumph of engineering to improve access for the community. It’s a real jewel in the crown for Hounslow and I am delighted to open it.

“I would like to pay tribute especially to Cllr Todd & Cllr Curran [former leader of Hounslow Council] for getting it off the ground.”

Image above: The footbridge was opened in January

Pigeons persuaded to move

There was a slight hold up in the opening of the bridge as contractors worked out what to do about the unforeseen problem of pigeons roosting in the girders of the railway bridge and messing up the beautiful new pathway below.

READ ALSO: Barnes Bridge walkway delayed as pigeons keep pooing on it

READ ALSO: New walkway underneath Barnes Railway Bridge opened

They came up with an ingenious solution in which no birds were harmed, the pigeons were persuaded to move along and roost above the water rather than the pathway, and the bridge was duly opened a few weeks later with a dance display by students from Chiswick School and the accompaniment of the school’s steel band.

Image above: Councillor John Todd at the opening of the Dukes Meadows footbridge

Another award could be on its way

The footbridge could win another award this week as it has also been shortlisted in the Infrastructure and Transport category in The Architects’ Journal Architecture Awards. The winners will be announced on 22 November at a ceremony at the Hilton Metropole.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar