Railway Bridge ‘Driven’ in for New Year

By on 27/12/2010 in News

The latest phase of a complex project to allow a major road to pass underneath a busy canal and railway line swung into action over Christmas and Boxing Day with a new rail bridge ‘driven’ into place.

The 3,800-tonne bridge deck, which will carry the busy Cross-City line between Redditch and Lichfield, has been built alongside the existing ‘live’ railway line.

Now complete the bridge deck is literally being wheeled a short distance into place on a number of heavy duty flat bed transporters on Boxing Day.

On Christmas Day the railway line will be closed, the track removed and ground excavated ready to receive the new bridge deck. On the following Bank Holidays the track will be reinstated on the new bridge deck, in total the tracked will be closed for a period of for days from 25th to 29th December.

The line will then re-open as normal following the shutdown with the new bridge in place.

And anyone interested in progress that is made on the rail bridge deck drive operation over Christmas can monitor work as it happens thanks to a time-lapse camera installed by the city council.

Cllr Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transportation and Regeneration, said: “By both easing congestion in Selly Oak and greatly improving transport links and business opportunities along the new road, this project will bring great benefits to local motorists, residents and businesses alike.

“Logistically, building the road across the path of both the canal and railway has certainly proved challenging, but I am glad to say it is a challenge we have risen to whilst keeping disruption to trains and boats to an absolute minimum.”

As well as needing to build the new bridge the council and its partners also faced a major challenge in how to take the road under the neighbouring Birmingham to Worcester canal.

This led to the construction of the new 'Ariel Aqueduct', developed by Birmingham City Council, British Waterways and Contractor Birse Civils Ltd, the three-span aqueduct holds 175,000 gallons of water, carrying up to 50 boats a day.

The aqueduct is to be named 'Ariel Aqueduct' after the Ariel Factory on Grange Road that produced Bicycles, Motorcycles and Cars. The factory closed in 1963 having been established for over 100 years.

With the aqueduct and railway bridge in place approximately 50,000m3 of material will now be excavated from beneath the two bridges to allow the Selly Oak New Road Phase 2 to be connected to the recently opened Phase 1A section This crucial connection will, when the road is open to public in July 2011, help ease congestion in Selly Oak centre and help to stimulate the regeneration of the area.

To complete the full Selly Oak New Road further works are intended at the 'Selly Oak Triangle' as part of the planned development for the Birmingham Battery Site.

When the full Selly Oak New Road is complete works to downgrade the Bristol Road through Selly Oak shopping centre will be carried out, comprising better facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

The new road will play a major role in the delivery of economic benefits in the immediate locality and in the Selly Oak area.

For more information, please call Sarah Kirby on 0121 303 3287

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