A project that saw Owen Williams setting new industry design standards for lightweight structures has come to fruition this week, with the opening of the new A14 Milton Bridge.
The £2 million seven span pedestrian and cycle bridge creates a safe link between Milton and Cambridge, something that has been long campaigned for by local residents.
A number of engineering challenges were presented to project designer Owen Williams once a bowstring arch design was chosen for the bridge. With a centre span of over 77 metres and in the wake of the phenomenon of the lateral vibration of the London Millennium Bridge and the Solferano Bridge in Paris, extensive live tests were required to determine any possible problems.
With the lack of clear guidance in British and European bridge design codes, Owen Williams undertook extensive research and testing and, with help of Dr. Alan McRobbie from Cambridge University, developed a series of unique criteria suitable for the structure.
As part of the development process, live vibration tests were carried out using walkers, jogger, runners and shaking machines. This helped determine the need for "dampers" to be installed, to reduce the effect of movement on the bridge.
The tests and findings undertaken as part of the project enabled Owen Williams to successfully complete the bridge, ensuring that it would provide a stable platform for users, whilst setting new guidelines on which the design of future structures can be based.