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

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32,029 - £34,788 per annum
Currently seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938 per annum
Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part time, job share and flexible working basis. The salary is u England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Transport & Infrastructure Planning Officer

Essex County Council
£52000 - £57570.0 per annum
Please note this is a two year fixed term contract with a potential for extension, subject to budget and workload. Job purpose Calling all transport P England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Food Safety Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 to £42,490
Seeking a highly motivated and experienced Environmental Health Officer to join our busy Food Safety team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Policy Planner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£25,327 - £36,486 depending on skills and experience
We have an exciting opportunity within the Spatial and Transport Planning service for 2 x Policy Planner roles... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Highways Inspector

Cambridgeshire County Council
£19,554 - £23,836
Looking for candidates who have experience of highways maintenance and have a sound technical understanding of highways. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Street Services Recruitment Day

Royal Borough of Greenwich
Competitive Salary
This role involves collecting residents and business wheelie bins and waste containers you will work as... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Tree Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£25,880 - £27,904
Looking for an assistant tree officer to join a busy Tree Section working with the most up to date arboriculture equipment’s and IT resources.  Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Traffic Officer

Bedford Borough Council
£23,313 - £26,999 per annum
You will work as part of the Highways team providing specialist knowledge and advice on traffic management issues. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Vehicle Technician x2

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
Seeking to recruit two Vehicle Technicians, based at our Waterfall Lane Depot in Cradley Heath. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Design Engineer - Guildford

Surrey County Council
£39,438 - £43,744 per annum
An opportunity has arisen within Surrey County Council's Highway Design & Delivery Team... Guildford, Surrey
Recuriter: Surrey County Council

Environment and Low Carbon Work Package Manager

Essex County Council
£38400 - £42420 per annum
Please note that this position is to be offered on a 3-year, fixed term contract.Interviews likely to be held week commencing 30th September 2019.Esse England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Director of External Operations

Somerset West and Taunton Council
£100,000
Somerset West and Taunton Council has been through a transformation that puts customers at the heart of everything we do. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset West and Taunton Council

Zero Emissions Network Officer

Tower Hamlets London Borough Council
£33,759 - £34,986
We are looking for an enthusiastic Zero Emissions Network Officer Tower Hamlets, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

Contract Supervisor

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£31,013 - £36,486 depending on skills, knowledge and experience
The role of Contract Supervisor (Waste and Street Cleansing) will require you to support ambitious plans to provide services for residents Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Flood Risk Manager

Birmingham City Council
£43,662 - £54,574
The role requires the post holder to be the lead professional for the Authority’s Flood Risk Management and drainage function Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Head of Highways & Transport

Lewisham London Borough Council
up to £72,705
As our lead expert on highways and transport, you will set the direction and lead on all transport related matters Lewisham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Lewisham London Borough Council

Assistant Director

Hounslow London Borough Council
Up to £82k
Working across a wide range of high profile direct services, the emphasis for this role is on partnership working. Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Director of Integrated Transport

Liverpool City Region
Salary up to £124,848
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is embarking on a search for an exceptional individual with the passion to deliver on our vision Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • HIghways Awards shortlist revealed
  • Equity in transport
  • DMRB updates
View the latest issue

Latest Video