HomeInfrastructureWork starts to protect Scotland’s Orbiston viaduct

Work starts to protect Scotland’s Orbiston viaduct

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Specialist contractors are working on the Orbiston viaduct in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, to protect it from the effects of weather that could undermine its foundations.

Built in 1849, the impressive viaduct carries the West Coast main line over the South Calder water between Motherwell and Uddingston, south of Glasgow.

Work is now underway on a £1.1 million project to remove material from the bed and banks of the river and around the viaduct’s foundations, as well as carrying out masonry repairs and ballast installation. This will extend the lifespan of the structure while protecting it against weather damage as part of a wider programme of maintenance to keep the rail network safe and reliable.

The South Calder water is being diverted into pipes while the work is carried out.
Rod Hendry, Network Rail.

Network Rail construction manager Rod Hendry said: “Safety is at the heart of everything we do at Network Rail and the £1.1 million investment we’re making in Orbiston viaduct will protect it for years to come.

“While scour remains the leading cause of bridge failures in the last 100 years in the UK, the work we’re doing is vital to keeping passengers moving safely and reliably over the South Calder Water.”

Scour damage occurs when floodwaters undermine the foundations of bridges. Scour protection works help protect these shallow foundations by diverting water away from the base of the bridge. It’s a major concern across the country, and Network Rail invests around £20 million each year on scour protection projects in Scotland alone

Work on the Orbiston viaduct is due to be completed later in 2021.

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