The magnificent seven: Spencer Group applies £10m Forth Road Bridge fix

13/02/2019
Chris Ames

High-level bridge works specialist Spencer Group has delivered a complex £10m project to maintain the structural integrity of the Forth Road Bridge.

It follows the discovery in December 2015 that one of the eight links, which connect the bridge deck to the tower, had fractured, causing the bridge to be closed completely for more than three weeks while urgent repairs were carried out.

Spencer Group project manager Robbie Ryan views the bridge

A temporary splint was applied to the fractured link, followed by a permanent structural repair to that area. Bridge owner Transport Scotland then decided to replace the other seven links. Following a tender process, it selected Spencer Group for the works.

The £10m scheme has involved cutting out the truss end links and replacing them with what the firm described as a unique new sliding bearing system. To do this, a series of complex works had to be delivered to a part of the bridge that has limited accessibility and was not designed with replacement in mind.

Spencer Group installed temporary stairs and platforms below the bridge deck, allowing access to each bearing arrangement. Its team had to work in confined spaces within the main towers, manoeuvring large components to precise tolerances.

The replacement bearings were delivered to the bridge from a workboat, meaning that the works had to be co-ordinated with tide times within the busy Forth estuary.

The project involved a series of complex works to a part of the bridge with limited accessibility

Despite these challenges, Spencer Group said the works had minimal impact on normal bridge operations, with road traffic flowing throughout.

Managing director Gary Thornton of Spencer Group said: ‘We’re delighted to have completed this important project to maintain the structural integrity of the Forth Road Bridge and to add it to our extensive track record over many years of delivering critical, high-level works on landmark crossings.

‘The project showcased the expertise we bring to works such as this, which pose a range of major challenges.’

Projects manager James Barnes said: ‘This project has been particularly challenging in relation to access because the truss end links and the new bearings we have fitted are below the bridge deck, about 40 metres above the water.

‘With our supply chain we have fabricated over 200 tonnes of new steel and joined it to the existing structure in some very inaccessible areas.’

‘The pieces that we cut out to replace were 7-8 tonnes in weight and some of the heaviest lifts have been up to 16 tonnes.

'All the pieces have had to be lifted onto the bridge deck or lowered to the workboat, so there have been major lifting, hoisting and access challenges that had to be overcome.'

He added: ‘A key factor in the success of this project has been the collaborative approach between everyone involved.

'It’s been a real team effort to come up with the right solutions and undertake the works in the most efficient manner, with safety the number one priority.

‘Long span bridges have a very long design life, meaning the quality of the work produced must be to the highest standard.’

Spencer Group said it has also introduced modifications that will make future works easier, including new permanent access stairs and platforms to allow easy and safe inspection and maintenance all year round.

Amey, the long-term maintenance contractor for the bridge represented Transport Scotland on the project.

A component is lowered into place below the bridge deck

Highways jobs

Strategic Director Growth and Regeneration

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£119,940 to £131,935
A decade of investment invites the opportunity of a decade! Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Strategic Director Environment and Climate Change

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£119,940 to £131,935
A decade of investment invites the opportunity of a decade! Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Funeral Operative (As and When)

Brent Council
£24,462 - £26,274 p.a. inc. (pro-rata)
The person will not need previous experience in funeral services as full training will be given but experience would be an advantage. Brent, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Senior Engineer – Transport Policy

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£38,800 - £52,600
This is an exciting opportunity to improve road safety and create healthy streets in a busy and dynamic central London borough. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recruiter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Environmental Health Officer / Health and Safety Practitioner

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£33,600 - £45,400 per annum plus performance related pay
The ideal candidate will have a detailed knowledge/understanding of Health and Safety legislation.  Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recruiter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Head of Operations

Rossendale Borough Council
£49,408 - £52,899
The Head of Operations is a key leader in the Senior Management Team. Rossendale, Lancashire
Recruiter: Rossendale Borough Council

Commercial Officer

Rossendale Borough Council
£25,801 - £29,636
We are keen to improve our recycling levels, tackle the climate change agenda and take pride in our open spaces. Rossendale, Lancashire
Recruiter: Rossendale Borough Council

Principal Electrical Asset Officer

Birmingham City Council
£34,788-£42,683
The role requires the post holder to be a key technical specialist for the Authority’s Highways Electrical Asset Management function, providing... Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Birmingham City Council

Transport Planning Officer 

Plymouth City Council
£32,878 - £42,683
This is a full time position (37 hours per week) with flexible working arrangements. Plymouth, Devon
Recruiter: Plymouth City Council

Highways & Drainage Team Manager

Newport City Council
£37,849 - £40,760
You will be skilled at analysing multiple sources of information, making excellent decisions, and driving difficult situations towards a... Newport (Casnewydd)
Recruiter: Newport City Council

Senior Environmental Health Officer (Housing Lead)

Mole Valley District Council
£37,821 - £42,329
An exciting opportunity for a Senior Environmental Health Officer to join our forward thinking Environmental Health Partnership Oxted, Surrey
Recruiter: Mole Valley District Council

Street Works Compliance Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£29,636 - £31,371 per annum
For further information on the role please click. Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Assistant Director - Planning and Transportation

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
£81,495 per annum
We are looking for a highly accomplished, ambitious and determined Chartered Town Planner to join the Growth Directorate’s leadership team. Tameside, Greater Manchester
Recruiter: Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Sustainability & Resilience Officer

Essex County Council
£30001.0 - £34017 per annum
This opportunity is to be offered on a 6-month, fixed term / secondment contract basisInterviews scheduled to be held Friday 17th April Job Purpose Es England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Highway Electrical Maintenance & Installation Operative (Street Lighting) Apprentice

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
National minimum wage, currently £8.20 in first 12 months, increasing to £8.72 thereafter
If you are looking for hands on experience and learning on the job then an apprenticeship could be the right route for you. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways Civil Engineering Technician Apprentice x 3

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
National minimum wage, currently £8.20 in first 12 months, increasing to £8.72 thereafter
If you are looking for hands on experience and learning on the job then an apprenticeship could be the right route for you. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Safety, Health & Environment Technician Apprentice

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
National minimum wage, currently £8.20 in first 12 months, increasing to £8.72 thereafter
If you are looking for hands on experience and learning on the job then an apprenticeship could be the right route for you. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Strategic Director, Environment & Regeneration

Brent Council
Circa £155,000
Brent is the Borough of Cultures - the most diverse in London - and as a Council we believe in delivering for our communities. Brent, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Street Cleansing Operative x6

Redbridge London Borough Council
£20,466.00 - £20,835.00
This role will involve working as an individual as well as part of a team, litter pick the streets in the local area, empty the litter bins. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Assistant Engineer - Grade 3

Northumberland County Council
£27,905 - £31,371
Assistant Engineer (Structures) - Band 7 (SCP 24-28) The Council Northumberland County Council operates a huge range of services across one of the ... County Hall, Morpeth
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Inside:

  • Exclusive: Self-assessment results
  • Keeping up momentum on major roads
  • The Lifelines Resilience approach
View the latest issue

Latest Video