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Queensferry Crossing Reaches Milestone

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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Crews working on Scotland’s Queensferry Crossing recently made a massive push toward meeting the $1.35 billion structure’s year-end 2016 completion date.

The bridge’s 220-meter (722-foot) long north approach viaduct section, constructed of 6,300 tonnes of steel and concrete, was moved out 230 meters (755 feet) and into place across the bridge’s V-shaped piers, numerous reports said.

Engineers consider the launch of the north approach viaduct of the Queensferry Crossing to be one of the most complex engineering challenges on the entire project, sources said.

The installation now leaves a gap of about 64 meters (210 feet) on that side, which will soon connect the roadway at the north tower, the BBC reported.

Reaching a ‘Technical Milestone’

During a site visit to view the project’s progress, Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown told the Edinburgh News the north viaduct launch was another significant technical milestone for the project.

“Pushing such a huge structure in such a controlled manner, working to a tolerance of a few millimetres, requires expert planning and execution,” Brown said. “It is clear that highly skilled and experienced engineers are bringing their knowledge to the project, while others are taking the opportunity to gather their experience.”

According to the News, the north viaduct was fully assembled on site and pushed out over static temporary supports as a single operation (whereas the south viaduct had been constructed in sections, it noted).

As part of the process of pushing the viaduct out, it also had to be rotated and pivoted upwards, making sure that it rolled over the top of the piers.

“The launch of the north approach viaduct into its final position has been one of the most technically challenging operations of its type ever performed,” Michael Martin, project director for the consortium building the new bridge, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, told the News.

“[W]hat makes this operation really special is the fact that we had to slide the trailing edge of the moving structure down two ramp walls in order to raise the front edge by two metres [6.6 feet],” Martin explained.

“This allowed us to pivot the entire structure over the top of one of the two support piers as it moved forwards, resulting in the viaduct structure being at the correct geometry to match the emerging deck coming from the north tower."

Approximately 48 miles of cables were used to complete the launch, sources said.

Crews expect to close the remaining gap within the next two to three months, the BBC noted. This stage will require four deck sections to be lifted and fixed from the north tower.

About the Project

The Queensferry Crossing, also known as the Forth Replacement Crossing, is intended to replace the main traffic-carrying elements of the Forth Road Suspension Bridge. Built in 1960, the Forth Road Bridge carries the A-90 over the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh, Scotland.

The principal contract for constructing the new bridge and connecting roads was awarded to the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium with a successful tender price of £790 million (about $1.13 billion).

Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors is a consortium, comprising Hochtief, Dragados, American Bridge International and Morrison Construction.

This bridge structure has an overall length of 2,633 meters (about 8,639 feet), including a cable-supported structure of 2,020 meters (about 6,627 feel—the world’s second longest), according to American Bridge International’s website. The two main navigation spans are 650 meters (about 2,133 feet) each—the world’s sixth longest.

According to Transport Scotland, 30,000 tonnes of steel and 150,000 tonnes of structural concrete will be used in this project.

As reported earlier, during construction steps are being taken to ensure the same corrosion problems that were uncovered on the Forth Road Bridge’s main suspension cables don’t affect its replacement.

Among the reliability features factored into the planning of the Crossing, were the latest, most durable materials: cables that can be replaced more easily than on the Forth Road Bridge; a dehumidification system inside the box girder to reduce moisture and prevent corrosion; and modern paint systems on the structure, Transport Scotland said.

Besides construction of the bridge, the project also comprises the realization of the connecting structures north and south of the Firth of Forth. On total, almost seven kilometers of road infrastructure will be built without disrupting traffic, FCBC said.

Construction began in the fall of 2011 and is expected to wrap up by the end of 2016.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Bridges; concrete; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Steel; Transportation

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