Walton Bridge
For the bridge in New York, U.S.A., see Walton Bridge (Keene, New York) Walton Bridge is a road bridge across the River Thames in England, carrying the A244 road between Walton-on-Thames and Shepperton. It crosses the Thames on the reach between Sunbury Lock and Shepperton Lock. The architecture of the present bridge could at best be described as visually unappealing and has led engineers to predict structural weakness by 2015, hence the plans for a new bridge. There have been five bridges on the site so far and plans are advanced for the sixth. Prior to the first bridge there was a ferry which dated back to, at least, the 15th century.

First Bridge
In 1747 Samuel Dicker, local landowner and later MP for Plymouth, obtained permission to build a bridge at Walton. It was designed by William Etheridge and built by White of Weybridge to consist of "timbers tangent to a circle of 100 feet diameter" and was built so that a single timber could be extracted and repaired without disturbing the rest of the bridge. Old Walton Bridge was completed in August 1750 and acquired some fame, meriting an article in the Gentleman's Magazine, a report in Daniel Defoe's Tour in 1753 and a painting by Canaletto in 1754. The painting, which shows the rococo-style of this bridge, is in Dulwich Picture Gallery. The timber structure stood until 1783. A report on the condition of the bridge in 1778 suggested that decay in the wooden frame made it unsuitable for use, and it was dismantled in 1783.

Second Bridge
The second bridge was designed by James Paine and constructed of brick and stone in 1788. This bridge was painted by Turner in 1805 following his sketching tour of the river Thames and Wey at that time. The bridge lasted much longer that its predecessor, but part of it collapsed in 1859. A ferry crossing resumed until the completion of the third bridge in 1864.

Third Bridge
The third bridge, built in 1863-1864, was a lattice girder bridge on stone piers. At the same time, a brick viaduct was constructed to span the flood plain to the south of the river. As of 2008 the viaduct is still standing. The bridge was freed of tolls in about 1870. The third bridge was damaged during the Second World War in 1940 leading to a permanent weight restriction. To alleviate this a fourth temporary bridge was constructed and the third bridge was relegated to use by cyclists and pedestrians. It was finally demolished in 1985.

Fourth Bridge
The fourth bridge was constructed in 1953 on the downstream side of the old bridge, using a construction designed by A.M. Hamilton in 1930 and is called a Callender-Hamilton bridge. The fourth bridge was retained for use by cyclists and pedestrians when the fifth bridge was completed in 1999.

Fifth Bridge
In 1999, the fourth bridge was replaced by yet another temporary, fifth bridge occupying the line of the original bridges. This initially had several problems and had to be resurfaced a number of times causing traffic disruptions.

Sixth Bridge
A sixth bridge is planned, intended to be completed by 2009. After a public inquiry rejected some aspects of the original plan, works are forecast to begin in January 2011. Approval of the funding arrangements was confirmed on 29 December 2010. Building is expected to finish by the summer of 2013. The bridge will replace the two existing bridges, which will remain in use until the new bridge is completed. The new £32.4 million bridge will have no piers in the river, thus opening up views along the river and improving navigation for boats.

Building Activity

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