The Grade I listed structure, which opened in 1826, is the second-oldest operational vehicular suspension bridge in the world. It crosses the Menai Strait between the island of Anglesey and mainland North Wales in the UK.
Spencer Group will carry out a range of work - involving the deck, hangers, handrails and lighting - on behalf of client UK Highways A55. The latest contract wins come after Spencer Group completed a project to remove, replace and then resurface the footway panels on the approach spans on both sides of the bridge.
The primary focus of the new work is a US$1.75 million restoration project to repaint the entire main span underdeck of the 417m-long bridge.
Spencer Group has designed bespoke moving gantry platforms to enable its team to access the currently unreachable main span underdeck in order to shotblast, inspect and repaint the area.
The works will begin once designs are complete and environmental approvals have been granted, as the Menai Strait is protected as a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a wetland area of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
In addition, Spencer Group has been appointed to strengthen the handrails of the pedestrian walkways on the approach spans to both sides of the bridge.
Early designs and trials are under way as the team works with heritage organisations to ensure designs meet requirements in keeping with a Grade I listed structure. The works are targeted to be complete by late 2022.
A further project will see Spencer Group replace the majority of the vertical road deck hangers, which suspend the deck from the main chains of the bridge.
The project, which is due to run throughout summer 2023, is in the early design stages as the Spencer Group team assesses various methods for hanger replacement and off-site manufacture of specialist components.
A fourth project will involve Spencer Group upgrading and improving the bridge’s street and decorative lighting, installing an LED system.
Survey work for the scheme was completed earlier this year and Spencer Group trialled illuminating the Anglesey arch of the bridge (see photos below), with UK Highways A55 inviting key stakeholders and members of the local community to view the lighting and share their feedback.
Spencer Group is now working with UK Highways A55 Ltd to develop and agree the final specification for the lighting project, which will begin later this year.
Luke Fisher, sector lead for bridges and structures at Spencer Group, said: “We’re delighted to play a significant part in preparing the Menai Suspension Bridge for its 200th anniversary, supporting UK Highways A55 Ltd and their client, the Welsh Government, to ensure this remarkable structure looks its best for its bicentenary year and beyond.
“UK Highways A55 Ltd identified that the bridge is suffering from corrosion and needs repainting. For the underdeck painting scheme, we designed the moving gantry platforms, which are unique to this project, and our industry-leading capabilities in this sector formed a significant part of the bid.
“We’re proud to have been awarded these contracts and to be given the opportunity to further demonstrate our ability to find innovative solutions to complex challenges of this nature.
“We’re also supporting the Menai Heritage Museum in Anglesey to raise awareness of both bridges over the Menai Strait, as well as the importance of civil engineering among local school pupils and college students. We’re giving talks and leading bridge walks to inspire the next generation.”
Spencer Group is upgrading Menai Suspension Bridge’s street lighting. Pictured is testing of the new LED system taking place.