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Ravenscraig project prepares for one of the largest bridge lifts in Europe

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Scotland’s Railway is preparing for an intense 10-day programme to install a 5000-tonne bridge on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) at Ravenscraig in North Lanarkshire.

The £16.9 million project is being delivered through an agreement between North Lanarkshire Council and Network Rail, to construct a new road under the railway line as part of the ongoing regeneration of the former steelworks site.

For the last 10 months, Network Rail and STORY Contracting engineers have been casting the bridge at Network Rail’s compound next to the WCML and are now preparing to move it into position from April 1 to April 10.

Working around-the-clock, the team will begin this phase by excavating approximately 36,000 tonnes of material from the railway embankment and removing the track and overhead line equipment.

In a feat of innovation and engineering, the bridge and support structure, totalling around 6,000 tonnes, will then be driven into position using remote-controlled vehicles called self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) in what is believed to be the biggest move of its kind in Europe.

The track and the overhead line equipment will be reinstated before a series of signalling work takes place and the line is reopened.

Once the new bridge is in place, the council will progress with the construction of a new dual carriageway with pedestrian and cycle paths from Airbles Road/Windmillhill Street to Robberhall Road, as part of a wider investment to open the area for future development.

The work is being carried out at the same time as the £160 million investment at Carstairs on the WCML to reduce disruption for customers. During this project, ScotRail services between Glasgow Central and Lanark will be affected, and passengers should check their journey in advance.

Councillor Paul Kelly, Depute Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Completion of the bridge is a vital step in constructing the new road and opening up Ravenscraig for investment and regeneration for many years to come,”

“With investment from Glasgow City Region City Deal and the council, the overall £127.2 million Ravenscraig Access Infrastructure project will improve local access to Ravenscraig for housing, leisure and business as well as creating improved connections north to the M8 and south through Motherwell and to the M74.”

Jeremy Spence, Senior Programme Manager, Network Rail said: “This project represents more than £16 million worth of investment in the local area from North Lanarkshire Council and Glasgow City Region City Deal.

“Given the sheer size and scale of the bridge, it also represents a significant piece of engineering work, made possible by successes in innovation and collaboration with our major contracting partner, STORY.

Image credit: Network Rail

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