Chester’s historic Watergate Bridge reopens after refurbishment

5 January 2018
Engineers from Ramboll joined The Lord Mayor of Chester on the city’s Watergate Bridge to celebrate the completion of refurbishment works needed to conserve the historic structure.
Watergate Bridge, Chester reopens Dec 2017. Photo credit Cheshire West and Chester Council

Watergate Bridge, Chester reopens Dec 2017. Photo credit Cheshire West and Chester Council


Paul Maddison. Ramboll

Paul Maddison

Principal Structural Engineer
T: +44 7870 808 343

The grade I listed bridge had been supported by scaffolding since late in 2012 due to deterioration in the condition of the red sandstone parapet. Also known as The Watergate, the bridge forms part of the city walls and carries a footpath over the road at the western gate entrance into Chester.

The current arch was constructed in 1789 replacing an earlier medieval gate which was described at the time as 'dangerously ruinous'. A combination of inappropriate repair techniques used in the last century and the general condition of the parapet, meant that 85% of the stone had to be replaced.

Ramboll was appointed to investigate and assess the condition of the bridge and propose strengthening repairs, whilst conserving as much of the original fabric as possible.

As a Scheduled Monument, the programme of works costing more than £500,000 at Watergate Bridge was carried out under the guidance of Historic England. Ramboll project manager Paul Maddison is one of only 54 Engineers in the UK accepted onto the Conservation Accreditation Register for Engineers (CARE).

During the 16th and 17th centuries Watergate was, as its name suggests, a main gateway to the quay of what was the largest, most important seaport in the region. The River Dee reached right up to Watergate for goods to be unloaded and transported up the hill into the city.

Ultimately the River Dee silted up and the area to the west was developed, so Watergate lost its link to the river.


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