The Watford Grammar School for Girls site is bisected by a public footpath, which sees heavy use as a shortcut to the town centre and railway station. To meet safeguarding requirements over the years two footbridges had been installed, but by 2019 these were now at full capacity with up to 1500 students crossing at lesson changes.
In addition to the capacity issue, the existing footbridges had no provision for disabled access and Hertfordshire County Council approved the funding for a third footbridge to resolve these issues.
The school, with their architects DSC Consultants, explored a number of options for the new footbridge before approaching contractors. The design team at Streetspace looked carefully at the project and proposed a solution which met the access and safeguarding requirements without occupying a disproportionate amount of space, and that would be deliverable before the start of the Autumn 2020 term.
A steel bridge structure spans the footpath, with new staircases at either end and balustrades fitted with solid steel infill panels. All footways and steps are fitted with GRP anti-slip panels and coloured indications at level changes. Warm touch handrails are fitted, with colour contrast coating to meet accessibility regulations.
Enclosed platform lifts were incorporated into the design with a APL3 electro hydraulic unit manufactured from high grade stainless steel prior to being powder coated being specified as compliant with The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, The Platform Lift Regulations EN81.41 and Part M of the Building Regulations.
With automatic operators on the lift shaft doors, the specification combines user friendliness with economical installation and operating costs of a platform lift. LED lighting columns were installed to light the stairs and landings, ensuring the safety of all users during the darker evenings of the winter months.
With the commencement of the project delayed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Streetspace operations team pulled all the stops out to complete ahead of the school reopening in September 2020.
This deadline was achieved despite significant installation challenges with service relocations prior to foundation construction. A great outcome for client and contractor!