COWI in the UK has completed the main bridge works for the small but perfectly formed Honey Monster Bridge in London. The project, for client Bridge Road Southall Ltd, is a collaboration between COWI in the UK and Moxon architects which was won via a design competition in 2020.
The bridge is a small integral reinforced concrete structure over a canal in Southall, on the site of the former Quaker Oats factory where the Sugar Puffs cereal was produced, hence the moniker “Honey Monster Bridge”. In the near future it’s going to enable construction traffic to reach the site for future development before eventually becoming part of the public highway and providing an elegant entrance to the site.
Two main features elevate this design. On the western edge a stainless-steel cantilevered walkway is provided for pedestrians. A natural timber decking was selected underfoot, and a sweeping parapet frames the lush canal banks. In addition, the designers decided to lift two edge beams above the deck and sweep these forms onwards behind the abutments with complex precast architectural planters. These flowing geometries are read as one object, providing rhythm, and anchoring the bridge into the public realm.
Sustainability was at the top of the agenda from the outset with a particular focus on adaptability for a modal shift in future transport.
Andy Sloan, Managing Director, COWI in the UK, said: “The bridge design has been future proofed to support the Council’s long-term ambitions for local cycle infrastructure. This means the bridge has been designed with additional capacity and fixing points already built into the eastern edgebeam. This will allow an extra cantilevered walkway to be constructed for minimal effort should the council decide to increase the width of the structure to make room for a dedicated 2-way cycle path on the main carriageway.”
COWI led the design team through outline design, discharge of planning conditions, and technical approvals with Ealing Council in the first half of 2021. Then, with the main contractor Knights Brown appointed in the summer, there followed an intense period of detailed design and construction. Close collaboration between COWI, the foundation contractor (Colets), main contractor (Knights Brown) and steelwork fabricator (NcNealy Brown) meant that all the primary structure was complete by the end of the year, with all finishes complete by February 2022.
A Moxon spokesperson said: “As always, working alongside COWI within a larger team has been fantastic. While the Honey Monster Bridge could be the shortest bridge we ever build, it hasn’t been without challenges. Having arrived early at a modest yet elegant design, attentions shifted towards constructability, coordination and efficiency. We’re proud to see the structure in its final shape with the initial concept of seamless connectivity and expandability for extra cycleways fully embedded in the scheme. “