Like painting the Forth Bridge: Spencer awarded £18m Erskine job

04/07/2019
Chris Ames

Bridge works specialist Spencer Group has been appointed to deliver what it called the most extensive maintenance painting of Scotland’s landmark Erskine Bridge for a generation.

The firm will carry out the £18m package of works over a four-year period in the latest stage of a long-term relationship with the bridge, which spans the River Clyde near Glasgow.

Opened in 1971, Erskine Bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge of its type in the world at 1.3km and was last year awarded Category A status by Historic Environment Scotland in recognition of its special architectural interest.

Under the contract, awarded by bridge owner Transport Scotland, Spencer Group will deliver an extensive programme of maintenance painting.

Spencer Group bridges projects manager James Barnes said: ‘Our approach to the project is to limit the amount of time we will occupy the carriageways on the bridge.’

Cameron Gair, head of major bridges and bridges asset management for Transport Scotland, said: ‘This project is the latest major example of our commitment to investing significantly in the proactive and strategically planned maintenance of Erskine Bridge.’

Scotland Transerv is the principal designer and the engineer managing the works. COWI (formerly Flint and Neill) was appointed as technical experts to assist Scotland Transerv produce the design and will assist management of the works.

Spencer Group said the project will involve its teams applying 46,000 litres of paint across every part of the structure’s steelwork, from the bridge deck, 60 metres from the river below, to the towers a further 40 metres above. In all, 60,000 square metres of the structure will be painted.

During abrasive blasting processes and spray painting, sections of the bridge will be wrapped in a high-strength tent that will capture all the residue and ensure minimal impact on bridge users, trains on the rail line running below it, or river traffic. It will also prevent spillage into the River Clyde.

The works will also involve the refurbishment the bridge’s footpaths and removing redundant gas mains.

Spencer Group has carried out a series of projects on the crossing dating back almost 20 years, including designing, installing and maintaining four under-deck gantries to allow year-round access for maintenance and repairs.

The latest project follows works to inspect and recoat the stay cables.

Spencer Group recently completed a £10m project to complete repair works which followed a fracture that caused the closure of the Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh.

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