Work on the repairs of the bridge has been going well. Good weather has helped but there have been a few problems. This briefing is based on notes provided by Shropshire Council’s engineers Mouchel.
The stonework is being laid in lime mortar. Fortunately, the weather has been warm enough to allow this to set.
The stone recovered from the river has proved to be too weak to dress by hand. It is friable and crumbles. The stonemasons have been instructed to dress the stone using grinders and cutting tools, on condition that any cut faces are hidden from view when used in the repair. Even with this, the lack of large stone pieces makes it difficult to incorporate old stone into the repair of the spandrel. This means that new stone, supplied from Shropshire quarries at Bridgnorth and Myddle, will be used for most of the repair to the river side of the bridge.
Old stone, recovered from the damaged parapet and the river, will be used for the uncoursed parapets facing the road.
The stonemasons have requested to use hand-held mechanical breakers to remove the old cement repairs. Under the scheduled ancient monument consent granted for the repair works they should use hand tools but this impractical. A decision on the request is awaited from Shropshire Council’s conservation team.
Contractor Ringway will be picking up the new stone quoins from Shropshire Stone today ready for incorporating into the repair.
Meanwhile, HGVs are being diverted onto other roads. On Wednesday, an HGV carried beds tried to leave Ludlow via Sheet Road. Reaching the railway bridge, the driver realised the vehicle exceeded the height limit. In one of those ironic moments, when the truck reversed it knocked down the sign warning of a low bridge ahead. Fortunately, there was witness, so we can land this bill on the driver.
Shropshire Council has created a web page with updates on the bridge repairs: http://bit.ly/ludfordbridge.
We are still hoping that the bridge will reopen before the Mayfair.