A 914-tonne modular road bridge, the second of four being installed at site of HS2’s Interchange station near Birmingham, has been driven into place over the A446 in Solihull in only 45 minutes.
The new bridge will carry the A452 and form part of a major remodelling of the local road network that will improve the circulation of traffic around the UK’s new high-speed railway, integrating the existing network with the new Interchange Station.
Durham-based Cleveland Bridge manufactured and supplied 220 tonnes of steel girders for the bridge, while Expanded’s off-site manufacturing factory in Nottinghamshire provided 80 precast concrete modular abutment blocks.
A further two bridges are nearing completion. Over 200 people are involved in this construction site, contributing to supporting jobs in the region.
The bridge move was led by specialist engineering contractor Expanded and HS2 enabling works contractor LMJV (Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Joint Venture). A design joint venture involving WSP and Ramboll provided engineering and environmental services.
Applying advanced digital capabilities to design all elements of the structure in a virtual world, the A446 road bridge was built using a Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) strategy.
After building the bridge in modular sections, the final part of this process was Mammoet’s 128-wheel hydraulic platform taking just 45 minutes to move the bridge span 150 metres, where it was lowered onto the DfMA abutment shells to complete the overall bridge structure. Traditional construction methods would have required several weeks of lane closures on both carriageways, followed by additional weekend and overnight closures.
HS2 delivery director David Bennett said: “As work ramps up at one of HS2’s largest construction sites, it was fantastic to see this next milestone achieved so quickly. It was finished 24 hours ahead of schedule and follows hot on the heels of the installation of the bridge over the M42 in August, which was also completed early. We’re pleased to see innovations like this on the project dramatically reducing environmental impacts and disruption for road users.
“With construction of the railway now well underway, 22,000 jobs being created and an estimated 400,000 supply chain contracts available, HS2 is playing a pivotal role in helping Britain’s economic recovery.”
DJV project director Jon England added: “Our successful partnership approach has led to the design and construction of HS2’s first permanent bridges including one over the M42, the A452 bridge over the A446, as well as two other bridges over what will be the main HS2 railway line adjacent to the new HS2 Interchange Station.
“We are proud that through collaboration with LM JV, Highways England and local authorities, the application of 3D modelling techniques to align highways, earthworks, structures and utilities with the existing infrastructure and the innovative use of offsite manufacturing and Design for Manufacturing and Assembly techniques, we were able to safely deliver on this ground-breaking project.”
LM senior project manager Richard Fairhurst commented: “Digital design, offsite manufacturing and modular components are the enablers of innovative construction methodology – they bring greater efficiency and safety to major infrastructure projects like this, and importantly, can save months on delivery schedules. That’s great news for clients, stakeholders and local communities alike.
“This is the future of bridge design and delivery.”