Video footage shows the construction of the largest single span bridge being built as part of the US$722 million M8 M73 M74 motorway improvements project in Scotland.
The time lapse footage reveals nine pairs of 3m high steel beams, approximately 77m in length and weighing almost 2,000t, being lowered into position over the North Calder Water, near Bellshill in North Lanarkshire. The construction of North Calder Water Bridge is part of major works to upgrade Shawhead Junction.
The new bridge will carry traffic on the new M8 over the North Calder Water to the south of the existing A8. As one of the widest structures of the project at 77.25m, the new bridge will carry three lanes of traffic in each direction, alongside new on and off-slip roads, linking the M8 to the A725 both north and southbound.
The placement of the beams marks a significant milestone in the progress of the project and signifies the culmination of months of planning between Scottish Roads Partnership, the contractor responsible for delivering the project, and its construction joint venture, Ferrovial Lagan.
Articulated lorries brought the beams to site in three sections to comply with weight and length restrictions during transportation. Once safely delivered to site, the sections were welded together before the beams were paired for lifting, each weighing approximately 200 tonnes.
Before any lifting could begin, a massive 1350t crane – the largest crawler crane in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe – was delivered to site by a fleet of 33 HGVs and assembled on site over five days by a 750t and a 200t crane. When fully assembled the massive crane stood 90m high. With a maximum lifting capacity of 1350 tonnes, the operator had to perfectly balance the crane with counterbalance weights ahead of every lift - a slow and meticulous process to ensure a precise and safe operation.