Barring a total lockdown of society and any travel bans, residents and hopefully visitors will be able to continue to walk on the City Walls in Chester this summer and for the duration of the time it takes to repair the collapsed section as plans become finalised.
A special temporary walkway has been designed so that pedestrians approaching the site near Newgate Street will be diverted around the damaged section and then be able to continue their walk along the historic walls.
Engineers at the Council, alongside external specialists Ramboll, have designed the temporary walkway to be incorporated into scaffolding that is needed to prop up the wall. With the complex nature of the scaffolding design and constraints with nearby buildings and structures, careful preparations have been needed to design this supporting structure.
A ground radar survey to identify underground voids has taken place to ensure the scaffolding’s foundations are placed on solid ground.
Officers have been working with Cheshire Fire Service to assess nearby fire escape routes from adjacent buildings. The scaffolding will be designed to allow space within its structure for people to continue to use as fire escape routes.
To ensure safety is maintained, monitoring devices will be installed shortly at the collapsed section of the wall structure. The devices will be able to detect any movement of the wall and alert council officers and protect workers.
Councillor Karen Shore, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: “We recognise the importance of the historic walls to Chester and our borough, many tourists and residents enjoy walking the City Walls when they visit Chester and we wanted to ensure this can continue as soon as possible.
A great deal of thought has gone into designing this walkway as there are a number of obstacles the team have had to overcome to make it work. We have achieved a structure which meets all our requirements and construction will begin in the coming weeks to make the design a reality.
“We expect it to be able to open the temporary walkway in the coming months, once it is complete, so that people can continue to enjoy the walls this year as we move our attention to planning the repair of this historic structure.”