A bridge lift, which is set to be one of the largest in European history, is on track to take place in North Lanarkshire next month.
The 5,000-tonne railway crossing will be moved in an intense ten-day programme on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) at Ravenscraig.
It is part of a £16.9m project, which is being delivered through an agreement between North Lanarkshire Council and Network Rail, to construct a new road under the railway line as part of the ongoing regeneration of the former steelworks site.
For the last ten months, Network Rail and STORY contracting engineers have been casting the bridge at Network Rail’s compound next to the WCML and are now preparing to move it into position from April 1 to April 10.
The next phase of the project will see the team working to excavate around 36,000 tonnes of material from the railway embankment and removing the track and overhead line equipment.
The bridge and support structure, totalling around 6,000 tonnes, will then be driven into position using remote-controlled vehicles called self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) in what is believed to be the biggest move of its kind in Europe.
The track and the overhead line equipment will be reinstated before a series of signalling work takes place and the line is reopened.
Once the new bridge is in place, the council will progress with the construction of a new dual carriageway with pedestrian and cycle paths from Airbles Road/Windmillhill Street to Robberhall Road, as part of a wider investment to open the area for future development.
The work is being carried out at the same time as the £160m investment at Carstairs on the WCML to reduce disruption for customers.
During this project, ScotRail services between Glasgow Central and Lanark will be affected, and passengers should check their journey in advance.
Councillor Paul Kelly, depute leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Completion of the bridge is a vital step in constructing the new road and opening up Ravenscraig for investment and regeneration for many years to come,”
“With investment from Glasgow City Region City Deal and the council, the overall £127.2m Ravenscraig Access Infrastructure project will improve local access to Ravenscraig for housing, leisure and business as well as creating improved connections north to the M8 and south through Motherwell and to the M74.”
Jeremy Spence, senior programme manager, Network Rail said: “This project represents more than £16m worth of investment in the local area from North Lanarkshire Council and Glasgow City Region City Deal.
“Given the sheer size and scale of the bridge, it also represents a significant piece of engineering work, made possible by successes in innovation and collaboration with our major contracting partner, STORY.
“The upcoming intense period of activity marks a major milestone in this huge construction project, with Network Rail, STORY and North Lanarkshire Council working closely over the last year to get it to this point
“Once our work is complete, it will allow the council to continue the regeneration of the area that will bring vacant and derelict land back into use while helping to create jobs and connecting people and businesses across the whole region.
“We would like to thank passengers and our lineside neighbours for their patience and understanding while we carry out this vital work.”
John MacArthur, managing director, Story Contracting (Scotland), said: “As our teams gear up to safely deliver this major milestone of moving a 5,000-tonne structure during an intense ten-day blockade, it’s great to reflect on all the hard work and commitment that has gone into the project so far.
“Working with our key supply chain partners, we’ve poured 2500m3 of concrete to form the structure, and put in 51,300 hours on site, whilst also being able to invest in the community by providing over 400 hours of work experience for local young people.
“We are therefore very proud to be supporting Network Rail and North Lanarkshire Council on this fundamental piece of civil engineering infrastructure.”