A brick arch bridge was jacked in one piece almost a metre off its foundations on 26 October as part of a demonstration project to test the new Elevarch system. The system has been developed by specialist contractor Freyssinet working with arch bridge expert Bill Harvey Associates in response to calls from the UK railway industry for alternatives to bridge reconstruction.
The farm access bridge currently crosses a disused rail line which is due to be brought back into service. After being cut free from the abutments and foundations, the 161-year old bridge, weighing 220t, was jacked up to 900mm above its original position.
With full electrification of the UK rail network planned, thousands of masonry arch bridges need to be adapted to provide extra headroom for the electrification equipment. The current methods are either track lowering, or full reconstruction, both of which impact on the rail services. The team behind Elevarch believes that only one short closure would be needed for this procedure, with all preparation work done with the railway still open to traffic.
See the November 2016 issue of Bridge design & engineering magazine for a full feature.