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Brundall1037

Solution for Potter Heigham Bridge

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Is it any lower now than it was? 1900?

Potter%20Bridge%20amp%20canoe%201900s.jp

The stonework on the waterline, is it still visible?

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Dave, judging by the darkness on the stonework I'd guess it's ebbing and about half of the mean variation. ;)

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That 1900 picture shows a significant difference - the lack of riverside piling which currently forces the river into a narrower channel and inevitably upwards.  Perhaps, contrary to some opinions expressed on here in the past, the bridge isn't sinking, but the river level has effectively risen through human intervention.

 

For what it's worth, water levels up at Potter this summer have been consistently lower than I've seen in many a year.  I've been through (with a 6' air draft) at all states of tide without even really thinking about it, and I've seen plenty of boats with 6'6" - 6'9"  or more pushed through by the pilots.

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Looking at the brickwork on the arch of the bridge, it looks in good condition, compared to the knocks and scrapes that have taken place over 100 years lol.

Have you looked at it close up? in places it looks as though it has been attacked with a Kango hammer drill.

Now here is a thought...

Boats could have water ballast, ie half sink them, to reduce the air draught, then no doubt, they will run aground because of the increased draught, or running aground on all the ironmongery like hand rails, aerials etc that have littered the river bed lol.

No, leave it there, there is nothing to see beyond Potter, we always check to see a few times a year lol. Nothing changes up there lol.

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Looking at the brickwork on the arch of the bridge, it looks in good condition, compared to the knocks and scrapes that have taken place over 100 years lol.

Have you looked at it close up? in places it looks as though it has been attacked with a Kango hammer drill.

Now here is a thought...

Boats could have water ballast, ie half sink them, to reduce the air draught, then no doubt, they will run aground because of the increased draught, or running aground on all the ironmongery like hand rails, aerials etc that have littered the river bed lol.

No, leave it there, there is nothing to see beyond Potter, we always check to see a few times a year lol. Nothing changes up there lol.

:liar  :liar  :liar  Oh yes! Hmmmm lol

 

 

cheers Iain

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According to the advert the solution is:

http://www.richardsonsboatingholidays.co.uk/boats/broadway/

I like that, I also like the split sliding roof.

If it could have an upper helm that could be folded down, somehow, better at the press of a switch lol...so the height wasn't increased then that would make it perfect.

So who will be the first to post a picture of it outside the Pleasure Boat inn ? lol

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I like that, I also like the split sliding roof.

If it could have an upper helm that could be folded down, somehow, better at the press of a switch lol...so the height wasn't increased then that would make it perfect.

So who will be the first to post a picture of it outside the Pleasure Boat inn ? lol

 

Ah now your mention of the split sliding roof made me think how else we could creatively adapt the centre of this bridge to allow more access to the Thurne beyond Potter Heigham without destroying it completely.

 

Perhaps we could turn it into a swing bridge or lifting bridge of some kind (I'm sure there's a name for this that eludes me this early in the morning) ... and that would give the pilots something else to do once they were no longer needed to take the boats under.  :smile:

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I think you lot had too much sun last week lol Its a BRICK Bridge, and aint moving any time soon, so there  :taunt:

 

cheers Iain

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We need a canal to go behind the pilots office, A swing bridge for the road and then a two way lock (Oulton broad style) the canal rejoining the main river between the two bridges. Simples and not that expensive!

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Enough explosive and it could turn into a lifting bridge........only once though.

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I am convinced there has been no long term research conducted (or records kept) over the last say 50 years (or even 30 years) as to whether Potter Heigham bridge is getting less likely for boats to pass through and why.

 

What we do have however is not only peoples own recollections and experiences from several decades back, but also the current situation with how many boats the pilot can take through compared to in the past.

 

I suspect it is a combination of factors.

 

The bridge likely having settled more and while some might point at the age of the bridge and ask how can it sink in the recent history when it has been there for so many years doing just fine then perhaps this could be down to our variable climate which is not following the same patterns has it has for centuries.

 

With new records being made for heat, rain (or lake thereof) and unseasonal extremes of all three, these surely contribute to the underlying ground that supports the bridge shrinking or expanding with different moisture levels perhaps more than it ever has in the past.

 

Then there is the river itself - when it was last dredged at the bridge and the depths now verses the past what about the Bure towards Yarmouth, has this being shallower caused issues for the Thurne and clearance under the bridge – or do we just get less nice high pressure clam weather now than in the past? The list goes on and on.

 

Since it appears the Crown owns the bridge getting rid of it would be tricky.  What is bound to happen at some point is it will structurally begin to fail, at which point it will remain as it is, but traffic will be banned from using it probably with the introduction of some ‘pleasing to the eye’ barriers/bollards – the local bus route will be diverted to come into the village, turn and leave the way it came.

 

Then one day it will be deemed to be unsafe full stop. At this point you have a battle of locals wanting it to stay and be repaired, and others saying finally the time has come to remove it.  I suspect somehow, it would be the new ‘Vauxhall Bridge’ and money be found to repair it to prevent its collapse, perhaps from the Lottery who know but I bet it would not be left to simple fall down and the bits pulled from the river and be gone.

 

Any other system of cancels and locks to get around the bridge will always fail because no one is going to want to pay for it not to mention getting the various landowners consents and what possible benefit would allowing a mass of cruisers up to these parts bring?  There are only so many moorings and space for these visitors to stop at and then spend their tourist pounds, but the effects of the new traffic would make the naturalists very unhappy!

 

So it is safe to say in my lifetime the bridge will stay and only very low air draft boats will ever be able to get under – perhaps when yachts taking part in the Three Rivers race can’t get under it people might sit up and think ‘something ain’t right here’.

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Some interesting points there Robin, but as I am a bit older in the tooth, I stick by Swift the ex bridge pilots comments. Its a bit like telling a Tradesman how to do his job properly. Having seen many so called I know best botched jobs. His experience should I believe count for a hellova lot! Just my thoughts .  

 

 

cheers Iain.

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There is a very interesting comparison between the two photos posted earlier in this thread, and that is the clearly visible high water line. Much, much higher in the Herbert Woods photo than in JM's taken a hundred years ago.

 

Swift tells us that the bridge is not sinking, that countless measurements have been taken. What I want to know, on that basis is why is there not a gap underneath it? We all know that most of East Anglia is sinking (are there still plans to call the new town near Coltishall "Titanic" :naughty:), so if the bridge is not, where is the gap? What is it about that small strip of land that is stopping it slowly dropping into the mud, or when they say it is not sinking, do they merely mean that it is not sinking any faster than the ground around it?

 

By the way, the HW photo would be more impressive if it were taken the other side of the bridge!

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Robin, my alter ego is Expilot. I only became Swift when I lost my original sign in name here.

I kept records of low tide every day Easter to November seven days a week not because anyone was obsessed with clearance heights, but as an insurance policy. Hoseasons or Blake could ring up to report that their hirers had complained that the pilot had refused to put their craft through. Checking the record, we could establish why a particular boat may have been refused passage.

The bridge is structurally as sound today as when it was built. The weight limit over the bridge is not there because of structural deficiency but for what NCC Highways call aesthetic reasons.

Depth of water at the bridge approaches eight feet in the channel. Dredging beneath the bridge would be impossible. There is a stone ledge running from one side to the other not much more than five feet below the water surface. The bridge is not circular.

Clive's Broadsman has made it's maiden voyage through the bridge. I don't know what height it needed but I would be surprised if it were as low as the six feet six inches that we used to put the 45 Connoisseurs through at. That's as low as a Hampton! And lower than all of the bathtubs.

I was talking this morning to the owner of an ex-Harvey Eastwood bathtub who was surprised that the pilot reported that he was unable to take it through the bridge. The bathtub in question needs seven feet two inches because the superstructure is square shouldered.

I have thirty years direct experience of this bridge. With our riverside property directly above the bridge I get to see every boat that has successfully made passage through the bridge every day.

My own boat, Broadland Swift, will need to be even further modified if I am going to be able to make regular passage through the bridge. Much has been made of the Martham boats being guaranteed to get through THAT bridge. Please take it from me, there is no guarantee. Even Martham boats have recently been marooned downriver of the bridge with changeovers taking place below the bridge rather than at the yard.

Those who suggest that there will ever be a bridge bypass are living in fantasy land.

Personally my dream is to see the bridge closed to road traffic, the whole area lit at night with outside cafes and eateries, the broadshaven totally revamped in keeping with the boat building heritage of the bridge area, the old Bridge Inn site developed for open access and the area turned into a holiday destination in its own right rather than the dump it is quickly becoming. If I had the money I'd do it tomorrow.

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With all the recent rain I rather suspect that there will be more days when even Martham Boats can't make it. David, just curious, why could/would there never be a bridge byepass, not that I would want to see one? A logical, if overly expensive option, would be a lock, the bridge between the gates. Would I want to see that? No, I like the sense of achievement of just making it through the bridge. It's a bit like Breydon, one of those iconic problems that has gained in stature over the years, seemingly at about the same rate as has the size of hire boats!

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Swift is of course absolutely right when he says there is no chance of any change at Potter to see more boats pass under the bridge. In reality the future almost certainly holds greater restriction of passage on the upper Thurne, be it from rising water levels or legislation. Not a problem to me, my boat fits on a trailer but I do feel sorry for those whose boats are designed to fit under the brodge but which no longer do, at least with any degree of regularity.

 

Entering cloud cuckoo land for a minute or two and looking at what could be done, I don't see any kind of lock arrangement working. The lock would be huge, 45 feet either side of the bridge, twenty feet of bridge itself? The amount of water that would have to be pumped out to lower the level sufficiently would be enourmous, use heaps of electrckery and take forever.

 

A bypass would be much easier, a channel cut behind the pilot's office and chip shop, severing the causeway south of the bridge. Such development could include additional moorings. The bridge would close to traffic except access to the businesses. Pedestrian access southwards could continue either by providing access to the bypass bridge or putting a footbridge over this "new cut".

 

I do like Swift's idea of an improved Potter Heigham. I remember it when it was much more attractive than it is today. If my six numbers come up I'll buy the Broadshaven, bulldoze it and build something more attractive.

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I do like Swift's idea of an improved Potter Heigham. I remember it when it was much more attractive than it is today. If my six numbers come up I'll buy the Broadshaven, bulldoze it and build something more attractive.

 

Yes a new version of the old Bridge Inn would be nice Paul. :)

 

 

cheers Iain

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