A new rail line crossing in North Lanarkshire will be the largest concrete bridge to be transported into position in the UK.
Work is progressing on the new structure on the West Coast Main Line which takes the railway line over the new dual carriageway between Motherwell and Ravenscraig.
The bridge and support structure, which total around 6000 tonnes, is being built next to the railway and will be moved into position using self-propelled modular transporters next spring.
Delivered through a £16.9m agreement with Network Rail, the new bridge is part of the ongoing regeneration of the former steelworks site.
North Lanarkshire Council’s (NLC) depute leader Paul Kelly visited the site to see the work being carried out by Network Rail and Story Contracting.
He said: “The new road will help us open up more opportunities for investment and regeneration at Ravenscraig, and the rail crossing is a key element in achieving our ambitions for the site.
“We can clearly see the bridge now taking shape, along with the wingwalls, which will be moved into position next spring.
“Taking the railway line over the road, rather than through a tunnel, reduces the impact on the area and allows better routes for footways and cycle paths which will run alongside the road and link to active travel routes across Ravenscraig.”
The bridge and the new road, to be built by NLC, are the first parts of the £127.2m Ravenscraig Access Infrastructure (RAI) project, supported by £61.9m of funding from Glasgow City Region City Deal.
The RAI project will improve connections north to the M8 and south to Motherwell and the M74.
Jeremy Spence, Network Rail programme manager for the bridge work, said: “The bridge is being built offline in a huge compound next to the railway but given the sheer scale and size of the structure, it’s becoming increasingly visible from several vantage points in the surrounding area.
“Our focus over the coming months is to have the bridge ready to move into position next spring as part of the West Coat Mainline, when it is self-propelled into place by using modular transporters.
"This will mark a momentous achievement on a collaborative project that plays its part in helping NLC deliver its ambitious and exciting plans to further regenerate the wider area.”
The project is providing a range of community benefits including eight full-time jobs for local people, four apprenticeships and an education with local schools, including work experience opportunities.
Trainee Engineer, Eoghainn MacPhee, is a graduate apprentice who has been gaining experience working on site.
“It’s a great team we’ve got working on the project and I’ve learnt a lot so far which has greatly aided my development,” said Eoghainn.
Scottish Government business minister, Ivan McKee, said: “Work on this vital new road and rail crossing is making good progress and will boost regeneration at the Ravenscraig former steelworks.
"Construction is supporting local jobs and apprenticeships and will minimise the impact of the line on the local area. The Scottish Government is helping build a more sustainable, greener economy through £500m investment in the Glasgow City Region City Deal.”
Malcolm Offord, UK Government Minister for Scotland, added: “The UK Government is investing £500m in upgraded infrastructure throughout the Glasgow City Region as part of our £2bn support for levelling up across Scotland.”
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