HS2's has major modular bridge installed in just 45 minutes

HS2 completes construction milestone as 914 tonne modular bridge is moved into place in 45 minutes.

HS2 has completed another construction milestone after a 914-tonne modular bridge was moved into place over the A446 in Solihull in just 45 minutes at the weekend. (24-25 October).

The second of four bridges to be completed on the site of HS2’s new interchange station, the new bridge will carry the A452 and form part of a major remodelling of the local road network. 

Durham-based Cleveland Bridge manufactured and supplied 220 tonnes of steel girders for the 45-metre bridge, while Expanded’s off-site manufacturing factory in Nottinghamshire provided 80 precast concrete modular abutment blocks.

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). Also supporting the hi-tech process, a design joint venture involving WSP and Ramboll provided engineering and environmental services. 

By applying advanced digital capabilities to design all elements of the structure in a virtual world, they determined that the A446 road bridge would be built using a design for manufacture and assembly strategy.

After building the bridge in modular sections, the final part of this process was the 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’s 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.”

LM senior project manager Richard Fairhurst said: “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.”

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