Work is progressing on a new crossing of the West Coast Main Line at Motherwell, which will be the largest concrete bridge structure to be transported into position in the UK.
The bridge, delivered through a £16.9 million agreement with Network Rail, will take the railway line over a new dual carriageway between Motherwell and Ravenscraig, as part of the ongoing regeneration of the former steelworks site.
The bridge and support structure, totalling around 6,000 tonnes, will be moved into position using self-propelled modular transporters next spring.
The bridge and the new road, to be built by North Lanarkshire Council, are the first parts of the £127.2 million Ravenscraig Access Infrastructure (RAI) project, supported by £61.9 million of funding from Glasgow City Region City Deal. The RAI project will improve connections north to the M8 and south to Motherwell and the M74.
Depute Leader Councillor Paul Kelly visited the site to see the work being carried out by Network Rail and Story Contracting.
“The new road will help us open up more opportunities for investment and regeneration at Ravenscraig, and the rail crossing is a key element in achieving our ambitions for the site,” Councillor Kelly said.
“We can clearly see the bridge now taking shape, along with the wingwalls, which will be moved into position next spring.
“Taking the railway line over the road, rather than through a tunnel, reduces the impact on the area and allows better routes for footways and cycle paths which will run alongside the road and link to active travel routes across Ravenscraig.”
Jeremy Spence, Network Rail programme manager for the bridge work, said: “Having recently achieved an important milestone with the first concrete pours to the new bridge deck, we are delighted to welcome Depute Leader Paul Kelly to site today to see progress overall since construction work started in May.
“The bridge is being built offline in a huge compound next to the railway but given the sheer scale and size of the structure, it’s becoming increasingly visible from several vantage points in the surrounding area.
“Our focus over the coming months is to have the bridge ready to move into position next spring as part of the West Coat Mainline, when it is self-propelled into place by using modular transporters. This will mark a momentous achievement on a collaborative project that plays its part in helping North Lanarkshire Council deliver its ambitious and exciting plans to further regenerate the wider area.”
Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “Work on this vital new road and rail crossing is making good progress and will boost regeneration at the Ravenscraig former steelworks. Construction is supporting local jobs and apprenticeships and will minimise the impact of the line on the local area. The Scottish Government is helping build a more sustainable, greener economy through £500 million investment in the Glasgow City Region City Deal.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: “This new railway bridge will open up employment and investment opportunities for the area while improving travel connections for local communities, businesses and visitors.
“The UK Government is investing £500m in upgraded infrastructure throughout the Glasgow City Region as part of our £2 billion support for levelling up across Scotland.”
As part of the bridge contract, the project is providing a range of community benefits including eight full-time jobs for local people, four apprenticeships and an education with local schools, including work experience opportunities.
One of the apprentices is Eoghainn MacPhee, a Trainee Engineer: “I started my Graduate Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering with Story Contracting back in May, gaining experience working on site at Ravenscraig whilst studying for my degree at University of Strathclyde. It’s a great team we’ve got working on the project and I’ve learnt a lot so far which has greatly aided my development.”
More information is available at www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/ravenscraig-citydeal.