Work programme confirmed for rebuild of Northgate steps

19 September 2019

Work to rebuild Chester’s Northgate steps will begin on Monday 23 September.

Eric Wright Civil Engineering Ltd has been appointed to complete the first phase of the works to repair this section of the Chester’s historic city walls.

Since 2015 the complex structure has been recorded and carefully dismantled, and the archaeological discoveries have been evaluated. This information has then been used by specialist conservation engineers, working with Historic England, to design a solid new foundation for the steps. 

The ‘North Gate’ is the result of many cycles of building, collapse and rebuilding since AD74, when the Romans first settled here. During 2010/11 tests showed the staircase was slowly rotating away from the city wall and could collapse.

Further investigations discovered the steps were built on top of previous layers of construction. 

This provided a fascinating insight in to the site’s history, but meant the foundations of the steps were not safe.

Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport said: “The rebuilding needs to take place with as little damage as possible to the precious archaeological remains.  The new foundations and staircase will be built in stages so the propping holding the remaining wall sections in place can be removed safely piece by piece.

“Our contractor is keen to engage with local businesses and residents and will take all possible measures to minimise noise, intrusion and inconvenience to those closest to the site.

“They will also put measures into place to prevent unauthorised access to the site including an alarm system and remote CCTV monitoring.  This will not affect the privacy of properties nearby as it will only cover the site boundary.

"Thank to you to all the residents and business in the area for their patience while the investigations were ongoing." 

Work on this phase should be completed in spring 2020. However, a section of wall immediately west of the site also needs to be stabilised in phase two of the repairs, so the city walls may not be fully open to public until later in that year.

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