Repair work to Chester ’s historic Watergate Bridge is finally nearing the end after the shroud was unveiled to reveal the refurbished city landmark.
And motorists will breathe a sigh of relief because the roadworks and traffic lights linked to the project are due to be removed this Friday (December 22).
Lord Mayor of Chester Cllr Razia Daniels has been invited to attend a short ceremony to mark the completion of the project.
The complex revamp has overrun because stonemasons kept discovering more damage than originally anticipated.
It was last November Cheshire West and Chester Council began to restore the Watergate Bridge to its former glory, with a planned finish in May 2017.
Councillor Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, explained the story so far including the reasons for the delay.
She said: “The council is committed to protecting Chester’s unique heritage and making it accessible for everyone. These intensive and specialist works are part of a project to improve and maintain the city’s historic walls, with £500,000 investment from the council.”
The amount of extra work required to restore the bridge became evident after the parapet was dismantled earlier this year. Previous repair techniques had actually led to considerable damage.
Cllr Shore explained: “Repair techniques used in the last century meant that 85% of the stone had to be replaced due to ‘delamination’ – where water flakes away outer layers of stonework.
"Initially the project estimated that 15% of the stonework on the bridge would need to be replaced, so you can see how the scale of the project increased – something we couldn’t have anticipated until it was underway.“A 3D laser scan was undertaken to create millimetre accurate drawings of the original balustrade that has been used to both schedule the works and to commission bespoke component parts of the parapet to secure it for future generations.”