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Design for Innovative Rail Project Revealed

Design for Innovative Rail Project Revealed

UK-based bridge design experts, Knight Architects, alongside a world-leading team of experts, reveal their innovative rail design for Network Rail’s ‘Flow’ Bridge; an innovative modular bridge which will have a wide range of applications across the network, including as a replacement to level-crossings. The new design builds upon Network Rail’s

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Osprey – See the UK’s Heaviest Bridge, Moving

A few seconds footage are all that’s needed to convey the size and scale of the UK’s heaviest single-span bridge, being moved into place by Osprey at Gipsy Patch Lane, Bristol. Super-structure upgrades improve the quality of life On behalf of South Gloucestershire Council, Network Rail has been putting in

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LAND & WATER WINS CONTRACT TO BUILD NEW BISHOPSFORD BRIDGE

Leading wet civil engineering specialists, Land & Water, has been appointed by Merton Council to build a new road bridge over the River Wandle in Mitcham. The new Bishopsford Bridge will replace the previous structure, which had to be demolished for safety reasons after partially collapsing following heavy rainfall in

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New bridge is a UK first to combat risk of flooding

A new stainless steel and concrete bridge, the first of its kind in the UK, has opened to pedestrians and vehicles in Pooley Bridge, Cumbria. It replaces its 250-year-old stone predecessor, which was destroyed during severe flooding as a result of Storm Desmond in 2015. The new single-span bridge has

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Road Bridges and Tunnels Drivers Would Like to See

Road Bridges and Tunnels Drivers Would Like to See

Britain’s van drivers would love to see a bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland and a tunnel under the North Sea to Norway, according to experts. Specialist vehicle suppliers LeaseVan.co.uk looked at which potential future engineering innovations would be most welcomed by the UK’s van drivers with a second Channel

Read More »

GRAHAM sees double for Carpenter’s Land Bridge at CIHT Awards

Construction and civil engineering specialist GRAHAM is celebrating a double win at the national Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) Awards 2020. The contractor scooped the Fosroc Engineering Award, before then being named as the Overall Winner of the CIHT Awards 2020, both of which were for its work

Read More »
Bridge Installed on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Bridge Installed on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

A new pedestrian and cycle bridge has been installed on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Contractors GRAHAM and Mace worked on Christmas Day last year to complete the installation, connecting East Bank to International Quarter London. The 350-ton steel Carpenters Land Bridge is a key part of the infrastructure

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Bridge Demolished for A13 Project

Bridge Demolished for A13 Project

A major project which will see the A13 between Orsett and Stanford-le-Hope widened from two to three lanes and four bridges replaced has reached a key milestone. The first bridge has been demolished under the scheme, along with street lighting column removal and BT communication cable installation. Saffron Gardens Bridge

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Severn Bridges Tolls Officially Removed

In order to jump start growth across Wales, the tolls for the Severn Bridges have been officially removed. Reports suggest the removal could boost the Welsh economy by up to £1 billion and deliver over £1,400 a year in savings for drivers travelling between England and Wales. Turley’s director and head of

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

bridges

Design for Innovative Rail Project Revealed

Design for Innovative Rail Project Revealed

UK-based bridge design experts, Knight Architects, alongside a world-leading team of experts, reveal their innovative rail design for Network Rail’s ‘Flow’ Bridge; an innovative modular bridge which will have a wide range of applications across the network, including as a replacement to level-crossings. The new design builds upon Network Rail’s expanding catalogue of signature footbridges and follows their ‘Principles of Good Design’. The ‘Flow’ Bridge is designed in high-strength composite materials, providing freedom in design and cost effectiveness, amongst numerous other benefits. Knight Architects were appointed to develop a concept design in Spring 2020, and have developed the design almost entirely remotely with Network Rail, Jacobs, Flo Flo, KS Composites, Sui Generis, Q-Railing, Rapid Root, Epsilon Optics, Sentry Systems and Mabey Bridge. Using Composite Materials Knight Architects’ ‘Flow’ Bridge design uses modern composite materials which have numerous benefits – they are light weight, cost-effective, and strong. They also offer a great deal of freedom in design – a wide-range of forms are achievable. Given this flexibility, the team wanted to develop a solution which significantly enhanced the user experience of crossing the railway, starting first by thinking about people using the bridges, rather than the objects themselves. This approach is echoed in Network Rail’s ‘Principles of Good Design’ which set out the ambitions for new structures across the network. People First Design Network Rail’s bridges play a vital role as part of a holistic end-to-end passenger journey. They have to provide a safe crossing of the tracks, yet often the safety and security requirements of the railway can lead to bridges which are unwelcoming, and are seen as a negative part of the journey. Knight Architects subsequently developed the ‘Flow’ Bridge concept, alongside the rest of the team, to focus on greatly improved user experience. It is designed to meet the required standards, whilst also creating a welcoming, enjoyable, and safe crossing for all. Key Aspects of the Innovative Rail Design The Corner – Traditionally, ramps and stairs are positioned at 90 degrees to the main span which when combined with high-containment parapets creates a ‘blind corner’ to turn around. This creates an uncomfortable moment for users, unable to see who or what is around the corner. Smoothing this corner out is important, as it creates a much safer, more welcoming user experience. However, doing so can lengthen the bridge, pushing the stairs/ramps away from the rail fence line and clearance envelope. This increases the cost, material use, and the land required for crossings. The ‘Flow’ Bridge resolves this with the addition of a structural ‘spine’. Whilst the deck turns smoothly around the corner, the supporting spine remains orthogonally aligned to the railway. This ‘disconnect’ between spine and deck allows the deck to ‘flow’ around the corner, whilst maintaining a minimalistic structural footprint. The addition of a spine also unlocks other benefits. On site, it allows deck modules to be lifted in incrementally, allowing for smaller, more manageable components to be transported and installed, or even replaced if necessary. It provides rigidity between deck modules, resulting in more refined connections, and allows precise connection to the concrete-free ‘Rapid-Root’ foundation system. The Parapet – The containment requirements of the railway often lead to solid, tall parapets, which create an oppressive, tunnel-like experience. The view from the structure is restricted, and the resulting enclosed space being poorly overlooked can even feel unsafe. In response to this, the team wanted to return bridges to being enjoyable ‘moments’ within a walk, opportunities to take in a new view, a vantage point from which to experience the surrounding environment. But this is also about safety – the view of the bridge is also opened up, and with more visibility of who is on the bridge, people can see their entire route before they embark upon it. Knowing that they can be seen on the bridge will make people feel safer when using it. Opening up these views requires transparency, and so a glazed parapet system has been developed. At low level the composite material extends up above the deck, but only as far as is necessary from a structural standpoint. Beyond this, the containment is achieved through laminated frameless glazing, held by an aluminium channel; a system designed by Q-Railing. The glazed element is one of the ‘variables’ of the scheme, with a multitude of options available to suit all site conditions. For example, a layered glass/composite solution has been developed to improve the glazing durability in sites particularly prone to vandalism. Modular Aesthetics of the Innovative Rail It is essential that any modular solution carefully considers the identity of the railway and also the identity of the specific sites in which the bridges will sit. Local stakeholders often view standardised solutions as insufficient, utilitarian and inward-looking – focusing only on the requirements of the rail, often at the expense of local objectives. The ‘Flow’ Bridges are inherently outward-looking. The crossings are designed to be assets within their communities, with each design taken as an opportunity to provide a beneficial, tangible link between the railway and the people which surround it. One of the key challenges for any ‘standard’ bridge solution is how one design can ‘fit’ a variety of sites. Standardisation is driven by consistency and repetition, yet good design traditionally seen as a specific response to context. The ‘Flow’ Bridge addresses this with contemporary, refined forms paired with careful detailing and a ‘human-scale’, all driven through enhancing the user experience. The aim is to ensure that even the ‘base’ design offers an attractive, fitting and welcomed addition to new sites. To respond to the specific characteristics of a site, the system offers a wide-variety of configurations. These extend from geometric adaptability such as altering the span or width of the deck, through to texture, pattern and colour modifications all of which are readily achievable with composites. Whilst the current prototype has been built as a stair-only version, the completed system will be capable of offering accessible crossing with the addition of ramps

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Osprey – See the UK’s Heaviest Bridge, Moving

A few seconds footage are all that’s needed to convey the size and scale of the UK’s heaviest single-span bridge, being moved into place by Osprey at Gipsy Patch Lane, Bristol. Super-structure upgrades improve the quality of life On behalf of South Gloucestershire Council, Network Rail has been putting in a new railway bridge at Gipsy Patch Lane – a single-span superstructure that’s part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension scheme. This £57m investment should reduce congestion in the area and improve journey times for all road users with a new public transport system and an alternative to travelling by car. Supporting Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd, Osprey was asked to deliver a full suite of specialist logistics that could move the UK’s heaviest, single-span, reinforced concrete ‘portal’ structure. The approach was challenging. The video shows the single-span in transit on a 144-axle self-propelled modular transport (SPMT) unit with 576 individual wheels – and Osprey also used heavy-lift cranes and an innovative arrangement of hydraulic jacks and longitudinal beams. In all, the portal structure and the installation equipment weighed 5200 tonnes, over half the weight of the Eiffel Tower. Editors can view and share the video here: Removing the existing bridge, installing a new asset With a span of almost 25m, the new bridge at Gipsy Patch Lane replaces an existing single-arch brick structure. The installation needed a closure of the railway.   During the replacement, teams removed overhead railway line equipment, dismantled and removed the existing railway track and ballast, demolished and removed the existing bridge and excavated over 30,000 tonnes of earth. Using our in-house experience of transporting and installing other giant assets – everything from the same kind of railway engines that will use the Bristol line, to renewable wind farm turbines or nuclear power plant components – Osprey used a wide range of equipment to complete the move. The project experienced challenges but the SPMTs manoeuvred the entire portal into position, while the bracing effectively ‘held the walls apart’ to maintain its structural integrity during the move. Assets of this immense strength have flexibility built into them, which is a challenge that needs to be overcome during installation. Working collaboratively delivers innovation This way of working significantly reduced the amount of time our team needed to be on site, which is of instant benefit to project planning. However, it is also a benefit to the local community – it means their lives are disrupted far less. Osprey’s project manager, Mitchell Smith: “Our short video clip puts things into perspective. The Gipsy Patch Lane bridge is one of several in this programme of work for Network Rail, but it’s the largest and the heaviest. The project did face challenges, but we quickly found ways to adapt and, in fact, improve our health and safety approaches – making it possible to work very collaboratively with our suppliers, and move the single-span superstructure into place in the shortest amount of time possible.” The new bridge will bring communities together, reduce commuter times, and provide a boost to the business environment that helps the local economy. Mitchell continues: “The Gipsy Patch Lane bridge will reduce commuter times for several major employers. We’re proud to play our part in preparing for the future, helping our local Bristol community to re-establish even better connections with an improved transport network. What’s more, many of our team live in the local area, so it’s been very rewarding to be working on something that will have such a long-term impact – this new bridge should be here for at least the next 125 years.” The importance of upgrading infrastructure Efficient road and rail networks are crucial for the economy and renewed investment in transport and communication links is essential. Traditionally, a project like this might involve many months of disruption. In all, Gipsy Patch Lane itself has to be closed for around eight months, but we’re delighted to say the overall disruption is being reduced by the work we’ve been doing – working closely with our client, Alun Griffiths, to remove Network Rail’s older and narrower bridge and replace it with an impressive piece of smart, modern engineering.

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LAND & WATER WINS CONTRACT TO BUILD NEW BISHOPSFORD BRIDGE

Leading wet civil engineering specialists, Land & Water, has been appointed by Merton Council to build a new road bridge over the River Wandle in Mitcham. The new Bishopsford Bridge will replace the previous structure, which had to be demolished for safety reasons after partially collapsing following heavy rainfall in June 2019. Land & Water was contracted by Merton Council to carry out the demolition work last spring. Replacing the bridge is a particularly complex task because it influences river flow and has a range of utilities running through its structure. During the project, a temporary cofferdam to the north and south side of the bridge will be installed, while work takes place underwater. The new river crossing, along the A217, will be wider than the previous bridge, to include a northbound segregated cycle lane and a wider shared southbound pavement and cycle space. The new design has a single span, rather than three arches like the old bridge. Land & Water’s ongoing environmental commitment has been reflected in its choice of specialist plant, which minimises noise. The river banks border Watermeads Nature reserve and the plans will help promote biodiversity in the river and on its banks. Construction Director at Land & Water, Kevin Kirkland said: “We are looking forward to returning to Mitcham to build a new bridge at this key river crossing. “It is a particularly challenging project because the bridge influences river flow and has a range of utilities running through its structure. We will be working closely with Merton Council to safely build a new bridge to replace the 200-year-old previous structure. The new bridge is designed both to meet the demands of today’s traffic and to encourage people to make more journeys by bike or on foot. “Land and Water is committed to improving the environment around its engineering works.”

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New bridge is a UK first to combat risk of flooding

A new stainless steel and concrete bridge, the first of its kind in the UK, has opened to pedestrians and vehicles in Pooley Bridge, Cumbria. It replaces its 250-year-old stone predecessor, which was destroyed during severe flooding as a result of Storm Desmond in 2015. The new single-span bridge has been designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and is in keeping with its location in Ullswater on the edge of the Lake District National Park. Hanson UK worked with contractor Eric Wright Civil Engineering Ltd to create a bespoke concrete mix for the lower arch of the steel bridge, designed and constructed to provide structural strength, and also supplied and laid the asphalt to complete the project. The steelwork for the new bridge was manufactured off-site in two sections, fabricated and welded on an adjacent piece of land, where the concrete lower arch was installed to allow the whole structure to be lifted into place over the River Eamont. The high early strength concrete mix included Hanson Regen GGBS (ground granulated blastfurnace slag), a cement replacement product which enhances the durability of the concrete while adding to its sustainability credentials. It is a by-product and using it to replace one tonne of Portland cement reduces the embodied CO2 of the concrete by around 780kg. Its use in large pours also helps minimise the production of heat, reducing the risk of thermal cracking. In total 1,200 cubic metres of concrete containing Regen have been supplied by Hanson’s nearby Penrith concrete plant to create the lower arch, bridge deck, bridge abutment and walls, highway approach retaining walls and several temporary works. “Concrete supply to this project was always going to be a challenge due to the location, unique characteristics of the bridge and the tight deadline,” said Nick Graham, technical sales officer at Hanson Concrete. Technical services manager Terry Balmer added: “Our technical team was involved early in the design stage due to the complex concrete requirements, especially for the high-quality visual concrete that makes up the deck composite, and this partnership working was fundamental to the success of the project.” To complete the project, Hanson supplied 275 tonnes of asphalt from its nearby plant at Shap, which was laid by the company’s specialist contracting team. This included 130 tonnes of Tufflex, chosen for its durability and high resistance to cracking, for the surface course. In addition to the complex nature of the bridge, the final abutment work, concrete arch and composite deck – as well as the asphalt – were all supplied under the added pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated issues entailed with furloughed staff and social distancing protocols.

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Road Bridges and Tunnels Drivers Would Like to See

Road Bridges and Tunnels Drivers Would Like to See

Britain’s van drivers would love to see a bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland and a tunnel under the North Sea to Norway, according to experts. Specialist vehicle suppliers LeaseVan.co.uk looked at which potential future engineering innovations would be most welcomed by the UK’s van drivers with a second Channel Tunnel connecting Suffolk to the Netherlands also featuring. They said routes better connecting remote parts of the UK with our cities, along with tunnels or bridges connecting Britain to mainland Europe and Ireland would offer more opportunities to UK businesses. There are currently around two million vans along with half a million HGVs on UK roads with a quarter of a million people identifying ‘van driver’ as their main occupation. Many of the vans are driven by small business owners and tradespeople such as builders and plumbers with many feeling better connections to other parts of the UK and Europe would afford them further opportunities. The experts said a road bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland was something many of their customers would like to see as it would open up the island of Ireland and help businesses in both the UK and Irish Republic. The UK government was rumoured to be considering a Scotland to Northern Ireland road bridge last year with a feasibility study looking at two routes, Portpatrick to Larne or Kintyre to the Antrim coast, a stretch of around 20 miles across the Irish Sea. Similar super bridges in Scandinavia connect Denmark, Sweden and Norway and have helped to open up the economies there while in Hong Kong the Zhuhai-Macau bridge spans more than 30 miles of sea water. Other dream routes for van drivers include a tunnel underneath the Irish Sea from Holyhead to Dublin which would reduce journey time from 3hours 15 mins to just over an hour. Van drivers would also like to see a tunnel under the Bristol Channel from Ilfracombe in north Devon to Swansea in south Wales which would vastly reduce journeys in the south west. A bridge from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight was another innovation which the LeaseVan.co.uk team said would make life easier for van drivers. While in the east of England a second Channel tunnel connecting Felixstowe with The Hague would ease transport to mainland Europe. The experts said a series of bridges and tunnels in Scotland could connect John O’Groats to Orkney and on to the Shetlands, turning the Northern Isles into a north Atlantic Florida Keys style archipelago. A further tunnel under the North Sea from Shetland to Bergen in Norway would open up Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle to both UK freight and tourism with thousands of Brits flocking to see the Northern Lights. A spokesman for LeaseVan.co.uk admitted the routes were little more than a wish list at this stage but said all of them would have economic benefits for the UK. He said: “Van drivers are the unsung heroes of the UK economy keeping the country running even during this global pandemic. These routes represent what we think would make their lives a whole lot easier – and open up major trading and tourism routes for Britons to enjoy. “Of course none of these innovations would be cheap. We have seen a figure of £20bn discussed for the Scotland to Northern Ireland bridge alone and that is perhaps the most simple of our proposed routes. “And as well as the required financial investment there are also the environmental concerns which would, of course, have to be seriously considered. “But if these routes do turn out to be feasible then they would have major economic benefits for the UK. “They would also make it a doddle for van drivers to pop over to Dublin for a day’s plumbing or even to nip to Norway for a plastering job. “They would also be good news for tourism, bringing many visitors to the UK as well as making it much easier for us to explore other countries.”

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GRAHAM sees double for Carpenter’s Land Bridge at CIHT Awards

Construction and civil engineering specialist GRAHAM is celebrating a double win at the national Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) Awards 2020. The contractor scooped the Fosroc Engineering Award, before then being named as the Overall Winner of the CIHT Awards 2020, both of which were for its work on Carpenter’s Land Bridge, a project that connects London’s East Bank to its International Quarter. The CIHT Awards is an annual global competition that celebrate innovative work, what it takes to be the best and the incredible benefits that the highways and transportation sector and its work bring to society. Carpenter’s Land Bridge is a vital pedestrian and cycle bridge that links the £1.1 billion East Bank culture and education district on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to International Quarter London. The project saw GRAHAM’s civil engineering teams design and install a 66m long steel bridge, formed of a portal frame and bearings, a concrete cill beam and bearings within an existing retaining wall structure, that crosses both Network Rail and Docklands Light Railways lines. The bridge was designed using Business Information Modelling software, consisting of both object-oriented 3D geometrical and non-graphical data, which was updated throughout the course of the project. Judges at the CIHT Awards praised the scheme, stating they were particularly impressed with GRAHAM’s creative approach to design and implementation. Judges stated: “The innovative solution, using off site fabrication and novel construction techniques provided a potential model for others to follow.” They added that there “were significant benefits in delivering during a constrained time window with large social values for the community and business.” On being named winners at the awards, Leo Martin, GRAHAM’s Managing Director of Civil Engineering, said: “It is a great honour to receive not just one, but two prestigious CIHT Awards for our work at the Carpenter’s Land Bridge. I would like to thank our project team for the dedication and commitment that was essential to completing the scheme on schedule and to budget. “The team went the extra mile on this project, taking advantage of the rail network shutdown to minimise disruption, and installing the bridge during overnight works on Christmas Eve, working into Christmas Day morning to ensure our programme was met.” Leo added: “Collaboration, as always, was also key to the delivery of this scheme and I’d like to thank our clients at the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), our partners COWI designers and Briton Fabricators, MACE –  the LLDC’s project management partner and principal contractor for the East Bank development, and all the stakeholders involved in the work for making this a success. The CIHT Awards are a highlight of the industry’s calendar and to be recognised at them is a fantastic achievement.” The CIHT Awards were announced at a virtual awards ceremony on the 23rd June. For more information on the awards and to view the full winners list visit: https://www.ciht.org.uk/events-listing/featured-events/ciht-awards/

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No place like home for Cleveland Bridge with contract award for A19 Testo’s flyover project

Maintaining its proud association with North East England, Cleveland Bridge UK has secured another project in the region to manufacturer a new structure in South Tyneside. As part of Highways England’s A19 Testo’s Junction Improvement Scheme, the Darlington-based company has been awarded the project by smart infrastructure solutions company Costain Ltd to fabricate and install a new 141.4m bridge at the centre of a flyover. Further alleviating traffic congestion on the redeveloped roundabout that connects the A19 with the A184, the flyover is part of a five-year £15bn programme by Highways England to improve journeys between the main North East arterial route and the surrounding areas. To date two additional lanes on both northbound and southbound sides of the roundabout have been completed, which has also created the space for the construction of the flyover that includes the installation of more than 130 concrete piles. The 1,393te weathering grade road bridge will be fabricated as a series of 25 paired girders at Cleveland Bridge UK’s 27,000 square metre production facility, 40 miles south of the project site. The scale of Cleveland Bridge UK’s factory will also enable it to undertake a test assembly of the structure, which will ensure a more efficient final installation on site later this year. Cleveland Bridge UK has a pedigree for the production of steel road bridges for major infrastructure projects, dating back to its formation in 1877, not only in North East England, but around the world. It is renowned for producing structures crossing rivers and road networks ranging from the iconic Tyne Bridge and Sydney Harbour bridges to, more recently, the Lincoln Eastern Bypass and the largest road improvement project in England, the A14 Cambridge to Huntington. Chris Droogan, Managing Director of Cleveland Bridge UK, said: “We are highly active in markets across the world, but it is always satisfying to secure projects in our home region of the North East, particularly those that will bring significant benefits to the efficiency of the area’s transport network. “We are also very proud to continue our long-term collaborative relationships with Highways England and Costain and look forward to the successful delivery of this project.”

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Bridge Installed on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Bridge Installed on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

A new pedestrian and cycle bridge has been installed on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Contractors GRAHAM and Mace worked on Christmas Day last year to complete the installation, connecting East Bank to International Quarter London. The 350-ton steel Carpenters Land Bridge is a key part of the infrastructure for East Bank, the new £1.1 billion culture and education district being created on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The new connection will link the buildings of Sadler’s Wells, the BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion and the V&A, including a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, with the new business district at International Quarter London. GRAHAM is the project’s civil engineering contractor and Principal Contractor for the Installation of Carpenters Land Bridge. Mace is the London Legacy Development Corporation’s project management partner and principal contractor for the East Bank development. GRAHAM’s team took advantage of the rail network Christmas shutdown to rotate the bridge in to position and minimise disruption to three Network Rail lines, two DLR lines and Carpenters Road. The bridge was manoeuvred into place using self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) rather than a traditional crane to reduce the risk of cancellation caused by potential high winds. Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “The installation of the Carpenters Land Bridge is another key moment in the East Bank development. It will provide access to local people and visitors from around the globe to the world-leading institutions that are set to be based at the country’s new powerhouse of culture, education, innovation and growth.” Jason Millett, Mace’s Chief Executive Officer for Consultancy, added: “The East Bank development at Stratford Waterfront is a vital element of the continued regeneration of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the installation of Carpenters Land Bridge is a major milestone in unlocking this new cultural and education district. 
 “As LLDC’s project management partner and principal contractor on Stratford Waterfront, Mace has the privilege of overseeing the entire delivery of the East Bank scheme, but this bridge lift certainly stands out as one of the most memorable moments so far. The dedication of everyone involved to achieve such a complex operation under incredibly challenging time constraints – and on a day that’s very important to a lot of people – must be praised.”

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Bridge Demolished for A13 Project

Bridge Demolished for A13 Project

A major project which will see the A13 between Orsett and Stanford-le-Hope widened from two to three lanes and four bridges replaced has reached a key milestone. The first bridge has been demolished under the scheme, along with street lighting column removal and BT communication cable installation. Saffron Gardens Bridge linked a major farm to the A1013 Stanford Road, either side of the A13. An alternative access road was upgraded before the works to allow the farm to continue to operate as normal throughout the entire duration of the project. Kier used protective debris mats to protect the existing road surface underneath the bridge, with four demolition machines used to demolish the structure itself, as well as water cannons to control the spread of dust across the site and into public areas. Live vibration monitoring was also in place to ensure that the demolition did not adversely affect the nearby gas pipeline. At Saffron Gardens Farm the replacement bridge has been designed to accommodate larger agricultural machinery which is prevalent in modern farming, with the new bridge due to be installed in 2020. “Demolishing Saffron Gardens Bridge was a major milestone for our project and I would like to thank the team for their incredible efforts in planning and delivering this high-profile activity safely and successfully,” said Steve Mack, A13 Project Director at Kier, The three other new bridges will be installed before the existing bridges are demolished to ensure that roads and communities remain connected at all times.

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Severn Bridges Tolls Officially Removed

In order to jump start growth across Wales, the tolls for the Severn Bridges have been officially removed. Reports suggest the removal could boost the Welsh economy by up to £1 billion and deliver over £1,400 a year in savings for drivers travelling between England and Wales. Turley’s director and head of planning in Wales, Huw Jones welcomed the news but called for further investment in regional infrastructure. “A serious plan to drive regeneration across the region requires a much more holistic approach than simply waiving the tolls. It’s a first step that needs to be supported by a range of other measures if there is to be any significant impact. What we need is joined-up planning policy on both sides of the Severn Bridge. One that is responsive to changing market conditions. Sustained investment in infrastructure is critical,” he said. “We would like to see progress on a number of fronts, including the delivery of the M4 Relief Road, electrification of the Swansea to London railway line, improved capacity at Cardiff and Bristol airports, the provision of new metro stations, and road improvements in the west of England on the M4 and M5 networks. “There is a great deal of work to do if we’re going to see the much-anticipated Western Growth Engine come to fruition. Without a clear vision, and an appetite to invest in infrastructure, our region won’t capture the opportunity to drive growth,” Huw Jones concluded.

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