Heavy-lifting operation gets under way to repair Christchurch bridge

An earthquake-damaged bridge in the New Zealand city of Christchurch is to be raised using heavy-lifting techniques, allowing the next stage of repairs to take place. The 38-year-old Durham Street Bridge – which is one of the busiest in the city - sustained significant damage in the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, leaving the reinforced concrete beams and the pier heads cracked and crumbling. The raising of the 5,000t bridge will enable specialist teams to begin the next stage of repairs, due for completion in August next year. The operation follows an initial three months of preparatory repair work by the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT). SCIRT executive general manager Ian Campbell said: “Although the bridge is perfectly safe to drive on at present, it is vital SCIRT completes repairs to the over-bridge for its long-term future.” Up to 28 hydraulic jacks are being used to lift the bridge by 10mm over four hours so that the weight comes off the pier heads while they are being repaired. "It is a precise process that requires all the jacks to work in unison,” said SCIRT Fulton Hogan site manager Paul Thornton. Hydro-demolition techniques will then be used to blast away the old, damaged concrete from each pier head, exposing the steel reinforcement ready for new concrete to be placed. The pier heads are being repaired one by one over the next 10 months. There will be up to 18 night closures during the project to allow the lifts to take place but the bridge will otherwise remain open.  The deck will be raised off the jacks for the first time tomorrow night (25 November) and the second lift is on Thursday night. More than 11,000 cars use the popular bridge every day.  Repairs to Durham Street Bridge are expected to cost US$1.5 million and are co-funded by the New Zealand Government and Christchurch City Council.

Milestone reached on HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge

A 6.7km bridge that forms a major section of the Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macau mega project is now in place. The Jiuzhou Channel Bridge was completed last week by China Zhongtie Major Bridge Engineering Group (MBEC), which is based in Wuhan in the province of Hubei. Picture: Hubei government, hubei.gov.cn by Ruan Xinqi The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge consists of a series of bridges and tunnels that will connect three major cities on the Pearl River Delta. Construction of the Jiuzhou Channel Bridge forms one of the main contracts for the HZMB project. 

Colorado gets green light for Grand Avenue Bridge

The Colorado Transportation Commission (CTC) has approved supplemental funding that will allow the Grand Avenue Bridge project to move forward with construction. The project will replace the existing bridge carrying the SH 82 road over the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs.  The project received federal environmental clearance in June (link opens in new tab) and since that time CDOT has been gathering funding sources and cutting costs to get the project in line with budget estimates. That work was finalised earlier this week when the contractor and CDOT arrived at a cost acceptable to both parties. The project's construction manager general contractor (CMGC) is a joint venture of Granite Construction and RL Wadsworth.  The final budget for the project is US$125.6 Million and is funded through the CTC’s Bridge Enterprise Fund, Colorado Department of Transportation and contributions from utility companies and several local governments. The Grand Avenue Bridge is one of approximately 150 bridges on the state system that has a “poor” rating and therefore has priority for funding. The details of the project schedule are being finalised by the CMGC and CDOT, but it is anticipated that the project will begin in early January 2016.

Contract awarded for landmark Florida footbridge

A design-build team of MCM and Figg Bridge Engineers has won a contract for a new pedestrian bridge to serve Florida International University in Miami, USA. The US$9.3 million cable-stayed bridge will connect Sweetwater with the university’s northern entrance. The project was awarded a federal grant in 2013 and put out to tender by the university in June last year. The brief was that owner was seeking "America’s best designers and builders as members of a design-build team to design and build an innovative signature bridge that will become a respected and valued design landmark in Miami".

New Cam footbridge gets the green light from councillors

A design for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the River Cam near Cambridge, was approved by Cambridgeshire County Council in the UK yesterday. The design team of bridge specialist Knight Architects and contractor Skanska, sought to consolidate the feedback received at all stages of the public consultation process in the design of a functional and enjoyable new crossing which is known as the Abbey/Chesterton Footbridge. (Copyright Knight Architects) The bridge will form a vital part of the Chisholm Trail, expanding the capacity of Cambridge’s cycle network. An alignment has been chosen that sits close to the eastern side of the existing railway bridge on the boundary between Stourbridge Common and Ditton Meadows; minimising the visual impact on the sensitive Ditton Meadow environment, whilst allowing the ramps to be arranged for the comfort and safety of cyclists and pedestrians. (Copyright Knight Architects) The bridge itself is an ornate lattice U-beam, with a structural pattern wrapped around the deck. It has a wide deck on which a shallow kerb is used to clearly separate cycle traffic from pedestrian users. (Copyright Knight Architects) The inclined parapet follows a gently curving profile on which the intersecting ribs create a pattern of ‘picture window’ openings through which bridge users can enjoy views of the meadows. Opportunities to stop, rest and enjoy the landscape are created by generous areas of seating at the bridge ends. A ‘Cambridge Blue’ colour finish which complements the adjoining historic railway bridge also allows it to fit in the natural environment and evokes the cultural and sporting context of the river. The approach ramps are designed as earthen embankments, screened by natural planting. (Copyright Knight Architects)

El Niño emergency relief plans boosted by modular bridge delivery

A total of 180 modular steel bridges has been delivered by Acrow Bridge to Provias Descentralizado, a government agency in Peru overseeing infrastructure for rural development and social inclusion programmes. Acrow has supplied more than 245 bridges to the agency in the past two years as part of a presidential initiative to expand the country’s bridge network. The structures, which range from 15m to 54m in length, in addition to multi-span bridges, are being installed throughout the country by Peruvian engineers and technicians who are trained by the company in how to assemble, install and maintain them. Acrow has also contracted with the agency to deliver 41 more bridges ahead of the anticipated impact of a strong weather pattern known as El Niño, which will be active well into 2016. Experts have predicted that the meteorological event, which occurs every two to seven years, could rival or even surpass the worst on record, in 1997, when Peru was devastated by flooding and landslides that killed 200 people and destroyed property worth US$3.5 billion. Shipments of the bridges have already begun, with most of the deliveries in Peru occurring by the end of this year. “This support of Provias Descentralizado and the Peruvian people as El Niño approaches is reminiscent of Acrow’s emergency response support in Chile after a major earthquake in 2010, in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina in 2005, and in El Salvador in 2010 after a tropical storm,” said Acrow vice president of international business development Paul Sullivan. Acrow Bridge president & CEO Bill Killeen said: “Acrow bridges are designed and manufactured with high strength galvanised steel for a service life of 75 -100 years, yet they are also an ideal solution for emergency applications. They can be assembled within days without heavy construction equipment, allowing roads and motorways to be rapidly reopened, and reestablishing connectivity for individuals, families, businesses, and government emergency personnel.”

Spey bridge options for Scotland’s A9 dualling revealed

Examples of bridge options being developed to cross the River Spey near Kingussie will go on display this week as part of the consultation process for the A9 Dualling Crubenmore to Kincraig scheme. The options are part of the 18.4km Crubenmore to Kincraig scheme by Transport Scotland. Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment & Cities Keith Brown said: “With construction well underway on the 10km Kincraig to Dalraddy scheme, the first section of around 128km to be dualled, we are now seeking views on this challenging section which includes the River Spey and Insh Marshes both internationally important in terms of their protected environmental status. Option 1: similar to the existing bridge Option 2: steel or concrete bridge on piers Option 3: steel or concrete multi-span viaduct “The River Spey is a Special Area of Conservation supporting important populations of Atlantic salmon, sea lamprey, fresh water pearl mussels and otter. Any crossing of the river as part of a dualled route will require either a new bridge or an additional or extended bridge to take the extra carriageway. In developing the crossing options at this point we are considering factors such as the local environment, proximity to Ruthven Barracks and its location within the flood plain. “Before taking any decisions on what is the most practical and suitable bridge design, we want to hear from locals and road users. We will consider all the feedback received before developing a preferred route option for the section between Crubenmore and Kincraig in late 2016.”

Copenhagen resurrects project for high-level link between harbour buildings

The city of Copenhagen in Denmark is resuming work on a competition-winning project for a pedestrian and cycle bridge linking two tall buildings across the harbour entrance. Steven Holl Architects’ project won Marmormolen project design competition in October 2008 by a unanimous decision but construction was delayed by the economy. The architect is now working with the city on a new local plan for the area. The competition required a pedestrian bridge 65m above the harbour, to allow clearance for cruise ships. Work is planned to start in 2016/17 if rental efforts progress satisfactorily.

Structural engineering awards recognise winning bridges

Bridges in Lyon and London have been announced as winners of the two bridge categories in the Structural Awards 2015 which are organised by the Institution of Structural Engineers and were celebrated in a ceremony in London last week. The Pont Schuman Bridge in Lyon, France and the Greenwich Reach swing bridge in south east London won the highway and railway bridge category, and the footbridge category respectively. Both were designed by consultant Flint & Neill.  Pont Schuman in Lyon (Flint & Neill) Pont Schuman is an elegant new crossing of the River Saône in Lyon, France. Designed to ease congestion on the city's existing crossings, the bridge also forms part of an urban re-development, improving the public space along the river and providing a recreational area where pedestrians can enjoy views of the city. The unusual twisted arches act as the primary structural element, creating a dramatic piece of sculpture with their unique, twisting, gull-wing form. The 120 tonne arches were transported to site by barge, then rotated through 80 degrees and jacked into place.  The judges were impressed by the elegance of the bridge and its slenderness. They particularly noted the high quality of detailing and the technical challenges that had to be overcome in the design and fabrication of the arches. The bridge was designed by Flint & Neill, working with French architects Explorations Architecture and local engineers AIA. Main contractor for the bridge was GTM, part of the Vinci Group.  Greenwich Reach swing bridge (Simon Kennedy/Moxon) The Greenwich Reach swing bridge completes a much needed link in the Thames Path, crossing the mouth of Deptford Creek just east of the historic Deptford Royal Dockyard which was established by Henry VIII in 1513 and was where Elizabeth I knighted Francis Drake and Samuel Pepys oversaw construction of the first ships of the modern navy. It delivers a valued link for local residents to access public transport and local attractions (removing the detour inland that involved using a busy highway crossing). Drive motors rotate the bridge through 110 degrees, swinging it open to allow access for local river traffic. Its design was inspired by modern yachts, reflecting the maritime heritage of the local area. The judges were impressed by the response to the engineering challenge presented by this site. They commented that the solution has been executed elegantly, creating a lightweight coherent response to a classic bridge form; with respect for its surroundings and future adaptability. The innovative approach allows for clear structural expression of the counter-balance, in contrast with the slender bridge deck, lending this bridge a meticulously engineered aesthetic. Flint & Neill led the design team, which also included bridge architects Moxon and specialist M&E engineers Eadon Consulting. Client was Galliard Homes, the developer responsible for a large residential and commercial development to the east of the bridge. Main contractor was Raymond Brown Construction, with structural steelwork by SH Structures and M&E works by Qualter Hall. Two other pedestrian bridges were commended in what was a hotly-contested category; the Merchant Square Footbridge in London, designed by Knight Architects and AKT II and the Jim Stynes Bridge in Melbourne, Australia, which was designed by Aurecon.

Winner announced in Bath bridge design competition

A design by Paris-based engineering and architectural consultancy Marc Mimram has won the competition for the new Bath Quays pedestrian and cycle bridge in western England. The winning design is called ‘Between History and Modernity’ and was chosen by a panel that included representatives from the fields of bridge engineering and architecture. Feedback showed the Paris-based team’s design was also the public’s favourite. AL_A’s ‘Celeste’ was in second place, followed by Flint & Neill’s ‘The Kink’, Grimshaw’s ‘Bath Segmental Bridge’, Heneghan Peng’s ‘I Bow’ and Price & Myers’ ‘Zig-Zag Bridge’. The shortlist had been unveiled in September (link opens in new tab). Judges said they were impressed with the sensitivity of the winning design and particularly inspired by the bridge’s curving design and the unusual undulations of the deck. Council leader Tim Warren said: “The new bridge is an essential component of the Council’s plans to create a new business district, Bath Quays, in the city’s riverside quarter. A development of the scale of Bath Quays is a fantastic opportunity for Bath to reinvent a somewhat overlooked corner and connect it with the vibrant and beautiful historic city.” Marc Mimram, founding director of Marc Mimram Architects & Engineers, said: “I have built bridges all over the world but it has long been my ambition to build in the UK and I’m excited to be doing so in Bath. The city’s history and relationship with the River Avon has captivated me since my first visit and it was this that inspired our design for the bridge. “Bridges have the capacity to transform cities, to build not just physical ties between locations, but symbolic bonds within communities. While being firmly rooted in Bath’s history and landscape this bridge connects Bath’s two new business districts and allows the city to look forwards towards future growth and transformation.” The Council intends to submit a planning application for the new bridge during 2016 with a view to construction taking place during 2017.

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