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The topic of a second bridge for Hayling Island first came up, as far as I was concerned, in the mid 1990s. At the time I proposed that it be built as a second generation technology demonstrator following the success of a bridge built entirely of composite materials at Aberfeldy in Scotland. The bridge is over the River Tay and joins the two halves of Aberfeldy Golf Course. The Aberfeldy bridge has a sixty four metre span; the Hayling Island Bridge would need a span approximately four times greater.

My reasoning was, among other things, that it would be a technical tourist attraction. The site would be alongside the present bridge at Langstone, between Havant and Hayling Island. Within fifty miles are the Universities of Surrey, Southampton, Brighton and Portsmouth; all having civil engineering Departments and an interest, involvement, in composite materials. That is without the Universities in London and Oxford, which are only a few more miles away. In addition, Professor Len Holloway, Professor of Civil Engineering Composites at the University of Surrey had been carrying out research with the Civil Engineering Consultants, responsible for the Aberfeldy bridge, for many years.

Moreover, both of the International Civil Engineering Companies, with which I was discussing the idea are also with fifty to sixty miles of Langstone.

After all, if you have clients flying into Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton, etc., where would you rather taken them to see a new development in bridge technology, a few hundred miles to the River Tay in Scotland, or a few tens of miles to the South Coast of England?

An illustration of the Aberfeldy bridge is show to the right and was borrowed from a University of Plymouth web page.

The bridge I had discussed with Civil Engineering Consultants would have been longer than the Aberfeldy bridge and, with emergency vehicle use, capable of heavier loads; a step up from it. Hence the technology demonstrator description, proposal, and the possibility of obtaining funds from Europe to partly, or fully, finance it as a result.

The relative ease of travelling to Langstone, compared with Aberfeldy, was an important consideration. Hence, in those discussions, the attraction of a technology demonstrator in the South of England.

Apart from the technical demonstration aspect the bridge there was the matter of people visiting the area anyway, where it would have been something of a technology tourist attraction. That was felt to be a positive factor in seeking funding, or would have been had interest been shown locally and a proposal and request submitted.

Since then we have had the construction of the Millennium Tower in Portsmouth, well almost; it should be completed by the next millennium. Either way, had our proposal for the Hayling Island bride at Langstone gone ahead, you would have been able to see the tower from the bridge with ease, as well as vice versa. two structural attractions within a few miles of each other and within easy sight of each other, involving completely different technologies.



Both of the Civil Engineering Consultants have vast experience of composite civil engineering structures, including bridges. A colleague who was head of the composite structures division of his Company at the time they built the Aberfeldy bridge is now, I understand, Chief Executive of that Company.

The result of the discussions I had with those Consultancy Companies was that at least one was more or less certain that the Hayling Island bridge could be funded with European development money, on the second generation technology demonstrator basis.

I wrote to Havant Borough Council in 1999 about the above proposal but did not receive a positive response.

More recently an article by David Willetts, MP, (Member for Havant) appeared in "The Hayling Islander", Specifically: "What do you think about my ideas for a second bridge?", David Willetts, MP; Hayling islander, November 2003, pp9.

As a result I spoke to Paul Fisher, Chairman of Hayling Island residents Association and subsequently sent him an E-mail; that was early in 2004. I felt the project could, just possibly, be resurrected, even after all this time as there was at least the possibility of the publicity from my other interests enhancing the project from that point of view, at least in due course.

I thought the matter was largely at an end, having heard nothing through the rest of 2004, until an E-mail from Paul Fisher, in December 2004, reported that the second bridge idea was still very much alive. Developments and progress will be reported, in due course, on this Web Site and on my Journaling Web Site.

Mr Willetts suggested a bridge, alongside the existing road bridge, rather than on the old Hayling Billy bridge supports to avoid difficulties with sea borne access to the Yacht Club. This is what I had been proposed the better part of a decade previously.

However, Mr Willetts wrote in terms of a bridge constructed of wood for pedestrians and cyclists. He also wondered about the feasibility of its use for emergency vehicles, if the road bridge was blocked, though harboured doubts as to whether it could be made strong enough.

That is where knowledge of engineering and materials, plus a little imagination (which is essential to a good engineer anyway) comes in. A second Hayling Island Bridge capable of being used by emergency vehicles is entirely feasible and is what I suggested to Havant Borough COuncil in 1999.

Without numerous supports in the harbour, or a very deep deck, a wooden bridge would not be able to take the weight of emergency vehicles. Besides, with wood, there are the attendant problems of degradation due to the marine environment, the weather, etc., and maintenance costs.

However, with composite materials, in the sense of advanced composite materials (engineering grade glass fibre, aramid fibre (e.g., Kevlar) and carbon fibre) the strength is there. It is possible to have a slim structure without a large number of supports. Also, properly designed, that type of material is very resistant to environmental degradation and maintenance costs are low. Moreover, it is entirely feasible to give the structure the appearance of wood; that was also part of the original suggestion and was proposed by one of the Consulting companies, with which I was in discussion at the time.

In the 1990s the composites bridge over the river Tay at Aberfeldy was the most significant structure of its type. It is a cable stayed, single span bridge which connects two halves of a golf course. (How this all came about is another story, though an interesting one.) In normal use it is for pedestrians and golf carts. As I recall, it is also capable of having a jeep driven over it.

On the day after reading Mr Willett's article I happened to be giving a lecture on composite materials to an AS Level Design and Technology Course at Chichester College. Apart from the aerospace composite samples I took along, I told the students about Mr Willetts article and my1999 proposal for a Second Hayling Island Bridge. I also mentioned it to a senior engineering colleague at the College after the lecture, who knows the area and readily agreed that it is entirely feasible. The students however, had difficulty in grasping the concept of a single span to the Isle of Wight with a carbon fibre bridge and less than a dozen spans to cover the distance from Chichester (or Havant) to Kings Cross, London. (The record for conventional materials is a two mile span. Add to that the fact that carbon fibre epoxy has almost eight times the specific strength as steel, i.e. carbon fibre is twice the strength of steel but four times less dense, heavy.)

During a later lecture to the students at Chichester College I showed them a video of the design, component manufacture and construction of the Aberfeldy composite bridge.

I have already offered to give a presentation, with the video, to one local group with an interest in the construction of a second Hayling Island bridge. That offer still stands and is extended to any other groups that may wish to see what could have been done and, just possibly, might still be done.

However, whether the technology demonstrator funding from Europe would still be there is quite another matter. Should there be serious interest in this area, those companies could be contacted to see if they are still interested.