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BRIDGES 2/11 & 2/12 RECONSTRUCTION, BATTERSEA The project, dryly titled 'Bridges 2/11 & 2/12 Reconstruction' at Battersea in south-west London, took the art of bridge replacement to the limit. The two bridges included 10 separate rail track spans, each consisting of a pair of 120-year-old hogsback riveted beams and cross girders built on substructures dating back to 1838.

Originally carrying the railway into central London from the south west in 43° skew spans over other lines to Kensington and Ludgate, Bridges 2/11 & 2/12 had become surrounded by a multiplicity of near-parallel electrified tracks running from Clapham Junction.

Replacement of the decks was necessary because the old beams were below strength in both bending and shear. Local failures were occurring in the cross girder. Track alignment was poor and difficult to adjust on the timber waybeam-mounted rails. What's more, sparks from the third-rail contacts led to frequent lineside fires.

The location of the bridges meant major structural work was extremely difficult and required special high-capacity Kirow rail-mounted cranes. In total, 360 tonnes of old bridge beams, 200 tonnes of brick rubble and 60 tonnes of 380mm square timbers would have to be lifted out. Some 400 tonnes of new bridge deck sections would have to be lifted back in. The design and construct team based its work around lifting in tandem by the only two Kirow cranes in the UK. The job was planned for double 12-hour shift working throughout. Work was well advanced and seven hours ahead of programme when a mechanical failure incapacitated one of the cranes. A modified lifting sequence enabled the remaining crane to complete the last parts of the work.

For civil engineering schemes valued at under £3 million.

Sponsored by Civils 2005 THE TEAM Client Network Rail Cost £2.97 million Entrant Southern Region Construction Partnership (Edmund Nuttall/Network Rail) Principal designer Mott MacDonald subcontracting to Nuttall Contractor Edmund Nuttall Other firms Gregory Demolition, N Class Fabrications, Gramm Interlink, Macrete, EWS

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