Worcester City Council | Worcester, 2020 - ongoing
Kepax bridge completes Worcester’s triumvirate of active travel bridges over the River Severn. It demonstrates the city’s commitment to accessible public infrastructure in the face of climate change and increasingly frequent flooding in the valley. To the east the bridge springs from a high (and dry) point, running parallel to the river. The deck gains elevation while the ground drops away, allowing the route to cross over a riverside path before curving through ninety degrees to span over the Severn itself. This trajectory extends through willow carr woodland along the west bank to land on higher ground. In plan, the route resembles a hockey stick: 4m wide and 145m long with integrated approaches at both ends.
A single pylon, tangential to the approach and main spans, is nestled into a wooded corner of the park. Two legs of an ‘A’ face their respective spans, bending and then merging at the top to receive stacked cable anchorages that hang paired cable arrays. A third set of cables balances these forces as back stays down to a substantial ground anchor. The deck is supported every 12m allowing it to be relatively thin with a minimal visual presence when seen from the park. Through the willow carr the deck continues over a series of piers. Like the compact abutments at both ends, these supports have a minimal footprint, treading lightly on the riparian environment.The sleek deck structure supports an elegant user environment. A slip resistant walking surface is applied directly to the structural deck plate with drainage depressions along both sides. The crafted parapets flowing along the deck are comprised of inward leaning stainless steel rods supporting a handrail with every other rod bending away to support a higher cycle rail. This simple repetitive array of elements appears transparent in elevation while taking on dynamic qualities when seen along the bridge as it curves in plan over the park and in elevation over the river. Regardless of the vantage point, the flowing form and expressive structure of Kepax bridge is a welcome addition to the Gheluvlet Park and surrounding area.