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Three-legged bridge lifted into place in one piece

Campbell wharf 7.12.18 jar 3456

A unique three-pronged bridge has been lifted into place over the Grand Union Canal in Milton Keynes.  

Works to install a new Y-shaped footbridge in Milton Keynes have reached a major milestone as the 35-metre bridge was lifted into place.  

The unusual design by Cowi and Knight Architects is part of the Crest Nicholson Campbell Wharf development. 

The structure will allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Grand Union Canal between the new mixed-use development and marina. 

The Grand Union Canal Bridge

Contractor Land & Water used a 750-tonne crane to lower the structure into place

Cowi principal engineer Oliver Stross said the complex geometry of the bridge reflected its surroundings. 

“The deck cross-section consists of a central steel spine supporting the 3.2m wide deck, enabling the majority of the steelwork to remain planar despite the bridge’s complex geometry,” he said.  

“The bridge’s parapets reflect the reeds and rushes found along the banks of the canal. The team used 3D parametric modelling to develop the geometry definition, giving each parapet panel a unique pattern.” 

Stross added that modern construction methods were used to keep the structure within budget, with the designs being laser cut from 8mm steel plate off-site and lowered into place as a single piece.

“We worked collaboratively with the steel fabricator, SH Structures, to ensure that the design was achievable within the project’s budget, we developed several prototypes to test and refine the design, which is laser cut from 8mm thick weathering steel plate. 

“The span lengths and deck weights were carefully controlled so that the deck could be fabricated off site before being assembled and lifted into place as one piece by contractor Land & Water using a 750-tonne crane. This approach minimised the disruption to marina works and the canal traffic.” 

The bridge is due to open to the public in summer 2019. 

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