TRUCK driver Andrew Weston didn’t even break a sweat as he reversed a 30m long footbridge around a tight 90 degree corner and into a siding off Waitrose car park.

The owner of WH Transport, which on Sunday took the bridge from Membury services to Wichelstowe under police escort, has been moving long or heavy loads for years.

“For me it’s quite straightforward,” Mr Weston told the Advertiser.

Months of work had gone into the move. Contractors had done trial runs and carried out computer modelling on some of the trickier corners.

Police motorcycle outriders accompanied the 28 tonne bridge as it left Membury services on the M4 shortly after 7am. The convoy came off the motorway at Junction 16 and negotiated the tight turn from Hay Lane to Wharf Road.

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The final hair-raisingstage of the journey saw the articulated truck reverse down Mill Lane. Boards had to be laid across the right hand turning from Mill Lane onto the Waitrose car park access road.

It had been hoped to lift the bridge, which will connect Waitrose with the new Hall and Woodhouse pub, but high winds put pay to the plans. A crane could winch the bridge into place later this week, Wichelstowe Project managers said.

Project officer Emma Leake said the process of getting the bridge from a design on paper to a massive structure sat on the side of the Wilts and Berks Canal had taken around two years.

“It’s fantastic to actually have it here,” she said.

“It got here in one piece, it didn’t hit anything and it’s all there.

“We were hoping to lift on the same day, but it’s just too windy today. We’re going to monitor the winds this week and see if there’s a day when we can lift it.”

Watching on from the safety of the Waitrose car park, six-year-old truck fan Max Court was awestruck by the size of the bridge: “It’s good. It’s so long.”

The bridge, constructed by Littlehampton Welding Ltd in their West Sussex base, will be fitted with metal panels cut with natural designs and painted with resin to glow in the sunshine. It is the latest project in the Wichelstowe development, where in May work will begin on a new primary school.