Buxstone Bridge abutments, 1996-1997
The second footbridge, known as Buxstone Bridge, was left at ground level until after the 1996 Pioneer Trail-Boat Rally, since boats could not venture eastwards past the sewer pipe that had been placed across the canal bed in the early 1980s.
It was decided to raise brick-built abutments ready for a permanent bridge deck, and Ron Robertson took photos of the bridge he'd largely built. One feature of the raised structure was that there were no steps. On the north side the public footpath descended on a shallow slope towards the railway pedestrian crossing (withdrawn from use 15 years later by Network Rail because it was too dangerous, situated on a slight bend making it difficult for users to see high-speed trains in time). On the south side was a gentle slope descending to the towpath on the east side of the bridge, and a steeper slope to the towpath on the west side.
It wasn't until March 1998 before Wessex Water agreed to lower the sewer to remove the blockage to navigation, as seen in the later photo where the eastern section had been drained to allow work to go ahead.
In 2016, Ron was no longer able to walk far, but this didn't stop him from visiting the work-parties and inspecting progress. He would unpack his mobility scooter from his car, drive along the towpath and then up the slope and over Buxstone Bridge. He rebuilt Beavan's Bridge clad in stone in Swindon in 2000, and the date is marked on the apex of the bridge arch.