|March 1871 The New bridge|
This bridge although "down only some nine months, is now up" for repairs, causing a complete stoppage to a large portion of the daily-increasing traffic between Old Swindon and New Swindon.
As we stated at the time this bridge was opened, four iron tubes, or coffer-dams are sunk in the ground, two on each side of the canal; over these tubes there are pillars, in the centre of which there are chains connected at the one end with the bed of the bridge, and at the other with large weights, which rise and fall inside the coffer-dams as the bridge is raised or lowered. On the outside of the pillars there are groves in which wheels, which form a kind of spur at each corner of the bridge, works, and by which the bridge is kept in its proper place.
For a long time past these wheels have shewn a "hitching" disposition, and the bridge has generally exhibited a determination not to "go easy" until at length it positively refused to go one way or the other. On examining into the cause of this it was found that one of the coffer-dams had been shifting its position, and had made a move towards the water, and in doing so had, of course , taken the pillar on the top along with it, and thereby locked the spur of the bridge into the grove up and down which it was intended to work easy.
For some days past men have been engaged in "putting things right", but how long it will take to do this seems uncertain. The offending coffer-dam has been removed, but whether the attempt to make it "bide still" will be successful or nod remains to be seen. As it is very clear that the "giving" of any part of the work an inch or two does make a difference to the working of the bridge, it may be found necessary before "a job is made of it" to have the bridge "out of it" altogether, and pulling down the walls built up last June or July, re-erecting them in a more substantial manner by using cement instead of mortar for the purpose, it appearing quite certain that the present failure is to be attributed to the water having found its way to the back of the wall, "which it oughtn:t to have done", and thus caused the "foundations" to shift.
It is rather amusing when passing by the "works" to notice the number of authorities engaged in it.
When the bridge was first put down there was no end to the "interests" the "Wilts and Berks Canal interests" and the "Great Western" and goodness knows how many other "interests" and the same thing appears to be going now.
We think it is a pity, considering the great inconveniences these stoppages of a leading thoroughfare occasions, that the work is not entrusted to one competent and responsible man, and thus prevent a constantly recurring illustration of the old adage that "two many cooks spoil the broth".
Swindon Evening Advertiser March 13 1871