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Construction set to start on £15M A74 crossing

Consultant Carl Bro has just completed design of a £15M bridge that will cross the West Coast Main Line north of Carlisle.
The bridge is part of the £174M ECI Highways Agency scheme being undertaken by contractor Carillion and lead designer Capita.The section of road to be upgraded is commonly known as the 'missing link' or 'Cumberland gap' and will complete the motorway network between central Scotland and Europe. The current dual carriageway carries 45,000 vehicles per day with a large proportion of HGV's and is used by pedestrians, and local traffic. The upgrade will improve safety and reduce congestion.As part of the scheme consultant Carl Bro were asked to design a bridge which could be built and maintained with minimum disruption to one of the busiest railway lines in the UK. Demolition of the existing 1960-designed bridge will take place once the new bridge is opened and traffic is brought on line.From a number of options, including single span, 3 span, portal structure and semi-integral bridge designs, a fully integral bridge option with precast, prestressed concrete beams and an in-situ concrete slab was chosen. The original design was amended to take into consideration the requirements of Network Rail. The changes include a concrete pier and abutment walls in order to reduce the access requirements and future maintenance needs.The first trial piles were drilled this week.Bernadette.redfern@emap.com

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