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Friday, June 14, 2024

Over 240 repairs completed on heritage concrete viaduct in East Renfrewshire

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A detailed maintenance programme involving over 240 separate repairs has been completed on an unusual concrete viaduct in East Renfrewshire.

The impressive six-arch Aurs Burn Viaduct, built in 1901, needed extensive renovations which contractors for National Highways’ Historical Railway Estate (HRE) tackled over two phases.

You can view a drone survey of the work undertaken by HRE contractor Balfour Beatty during phase two here.

HRE Engineer Colin McNicol said, “We only have five concrete viaducts in the whole of the estate which makes Aurs Burn very special and we’re delighted the work has been successful and the viaduct is preserved for many years into the future.

“This was a big job with concrete repairs involving mortar, carefully colour-matched with the original, covering almost 400m2 of surface area. The deck and footpath were resurfaced and pipes were cleared to minimise water dripping on to the structure. Japanese knotweed and other vegetation were also removed before it could cause any new damage. 

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Parapet repairs under way during phase 2.

Concrete repairs being undertaken by rope work during phase 2.

“It’s very satisfying to see the viaduct back in good condition particularly as it is so well used by the local community, including two schools that sit on either side of the burn.”

The viaduct runs for 350 feet over Aurs Burn stream flowing from Glanderston Dam and down towards Barrhead. It was part of the former Paisley and Barrhead District Railway, which included a number of passenger stations that were never used as the line only ever carried freight. It closed in 1941.

Phase one of the work was completed in November 2021 and included the resurfacing of the deck and repairs to the concrete arches in spans five and six which were in the worst condition.

After phase one was complete the access cradles were used to carry out a detailed inspection of the other four spans so a plan for the rest of the work could be developed.  Some of the repairs required stainless steel anchor studs drilled into sound, underlying concrete to anchor the repair mortar to the existing structure. Repairs to four closed up refuge areas were also carried out to make the structure safer for pedestrians. Work started again in March 2023 and was completed by the end of May. 

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 Underside of an arch after concrete work completed.

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The Historical Railways Estate (HRE) is a collection of over 3,100 structures and assets (583 in Scotland) which were once part of Britain’s rail network. Since 2013 National Highways has been responsible for looking after the HRE on behalf of the Department for Transport.

Around 80 renovations, maintenance and repair works were completed in Scotland in the last financial year, including several major restoration schemes on standout structures.

Colin McNicol added: “These structures are important reminders of our industrial history and we are dedicated to keeping them safe.

“We already have over 40 maintenance projects programmed for this financial year and more will be added as works are identified from our structures’ examinations.  We are also developing larger repair schemes on 18 structures in Scotland over the next couple of years; including the prominent underbridges crossing Cumberland Street and Cathcart Road in the Gorbals.” 

Maintenance and repair work is carried out by six contractors: Hammond ECS, Amco Giffen, Balfour Beatty Construction, Beaver Bridges, Bethell and Dyer & Butler.

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