Published on : Tuesday, April 4, 2017
The structure, demolished over the weekend of 7/8 January, was reconstructed as part of a challenging 16 week programme which has delivered the re-opening of the road, 15 days earlier than planned on 10th April 2017. The team will then work to complete the bridge, remove temporary traffic light controls and fully re-open the A71 by 16 May.
Though the demolition of the bridge was required due to the age and condition of the structure, the project itself was part of wider work on the Shotts line ahead of the electrification of the route by 2019 as part of a Scottish Government investment which is being delivered by Network Rail Infrastructure Projects.
The bridge reconstruction involved 37 lifts using a 750 tonne crane – the heaviest of which was the 67 tonne parapet unit as well as the installation of 24 x 18m long piles to support the construction of the north abutment of the bridge. The project also used 15000 tonnes of material to create the compound and access road and 400 cubic metres of concrete to construct the new bridge.
A stronger bridge deck has been put in place and higher parapets have been installed to comply with safety legislation on structures over an electrified railway.Mak Kader, Network Rail’s programme manager for the Shotts Line Electrification, said: “We are delighted that the work in West Calder has gone so well.
“Our primary concern throughout this time has been the impact of the road closure on the local community and it is very welcome news that the road is re-opening ahead of schedule.
“Given the location, this project was always a huge logistical challenge but with the scale and complexity of what has been delivered it is credit to the Network Rail project team and contractor Bam Nuttall for expediting works. While the road re-opening early is excellent news, we will maintain our focus until work is complete and the road fully re-opens.
“We understand the impact that the unavoidable closure of the A71 had for road users, businesses in the town, and those communities adjacent to the diversion route, however, this has proven to be the best way to minimise disruption for the community.