Multi-disciplinary bridge works specialist Spencer Group from Hull is to design, build and maintain a temporary walkway for Grade II listed Connel Bridge, close to Oban in Scotland.
The walkway, which will be cantilevered off the east side of the bridge, will allow for pedestrian and cyclist access during a two-year project to replace the entire deck.
The walkway is expected to be completed in four months, with the possibility of retaining it depending on a feasibility study and full public consultation. The walkway construction has been programmed to cause minimal disruption to traffic and the local community.
The A828 Connel Bridge was the second largest cantilever bridge in Europe when it was built by Sir William Arrol in 1903. It links the villages of Connel and North Connel. Originally a railway bridge, it was used for both rail and road traffic from 1914, until the railway closed in 1966.
Spencer Group is carrying out the project for BEAR Scotland, a service provider in the Scottish roads maintenance sector, on behalf of the national transport agency for Scotland, Transport Scotland.
The temporary walkway is part of the critical enabling works ahead of the deck replacement scheme, and Spencer Group, which specialises in providing innovative solutions to complex engineering projects, is mitigating the impact the walkway works will have on traffic and the local community.
Luke Fisher, Sector Lead for Bridges and Structures at Spencer Group, said: “During the tender process we focused our proposals on a sympathetic walkway design and methodologies that reduced traffic management during the construction works.
“Our designers proposed a traditional steel walkway design that was in-keeping with the heritage of the bridge, clamping to the existing structure where possible, to minimise invasive construction works to the bridge interface points.
“A key element of the project is also to minimise the impact on local residents and traffic, both on Connel Bridge and on the A85 below. The original design intent was to install support brackets over the side of the masonry viaducts that would require rope access for installation, meaning traffic management would have needed to be in place on the A85.”
Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West Representative, said: “We appreciate the historical importance of the A828 Connel Bridge and the vital transport link it provides to local communities.
“This project will allow teams to install a temporary footway on the east side of Connel Bridge, in advance of the deck replacement works which are scheduled to take place next year. The temporary walkway will maintain a route across the bridge whilst the bridge deck is replaced, as we will need to close the existing footpath and carriageway.”