The Portsmouth bridge which reshaped a hill and uncorked a bottleneck – Nostalgia
A while ago I published a photograph of the new A3 when it was re-aligned and bypassed the George Inn to the east of the top of Portsdown Hill. To do so a new bridge had to be built to re-route the A3 and pass underneath it.
I have received these photographs from Michael Riley, of Newton Abbot, Devon, who was the general foreman given the task of building the bridge. He always photographed work sites of which he was in charge along with colleague Michael Gafney. They worked for Brims (Swan Hunters).
Work began in February 1967 but, before, excavations had to be made as burial mounds were thought to lie in the chalk and, indeed, post holes and a small Iron Age domestic site were discovered by archaeologists.
In February 1968, 18 men working with two cranes placed 350 tons of high-strength concrete on the deck of the bridge. The £25,000 bridge was an interesting construction as it was skewed and on a slope.
Michael says the first concrete-carrying lorry arrived from Fareham at 7.30am and work continued until 11pm that night. The bridge was opened in the summer of 1968.