Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building


Cleveland Bridge produces 24 massive modular HS2 bridge girders

29 May 2020 | By CM staff

Steel engineering firm Cleveland Bridge has produced 24 massive steel girders that will form part of the first bridges to be built on the HS2 project.

The County Durham-based firm won a major contract last year to supply 1,130 tonnes worth of steel girders to HS2’s early works joint venture LM (Laing O’Rouke/Murphy), which is constructing four modular bridges at the site of HS2’s new Interchange station in Solihull.

Sixteen of the 20 metres girders have been pre-assembled in the Cleveland Bridge factory as 50 tonne pairs to minimise the amount of delivery vehicles on the road. Last week, specialist haulage equipment transported the girders to the site, where they will be assembled using 8,500 high-strength bolts, to make a 65m single span.

The assembled steel bridge structure, which will span the M42, will work in conjunction with a composite concrete deck to provide the overall bridge structure. Once the fully-decked bridge has been completed, this 2,750 tonne structure will be moved into its final position over the motorway.

UK specialist engineering company Expanded has supported the bridge delivery for LM, with the modular supports for the bridge on either side of the motorway made offsite in Nottinghamshire by Explore Manufacturing.    

The two modular bridges are being constructed near the site of the new HS2 Interchange station, forming new connections to a triangle of land formed by the M42, A45 and A452. They are the first permanent structures to be built by HS2 and will span the M42 and A446 respectively, with a further two bridges to take roads over the new high-speed line.

Simon Russell, LMJV project director said: “Digital design and offsite manufacturing have enabled us to develop these bridges virtually, and then assemble the components on site.  The beams will be assembled and then the concrete deck and parapets added to form the new bridge in a custom worksite beside the motorway.  We are using modular concrete components produced off site to form the deck and parapets, which improves programme reliability and reduces the amount of on-site working. The composite steel and concrete superstructure will be driven into place this summer.

“This is engineering innovation at its best – the assembly of high quality components, built in safe factory environments, and delivered to site when needed, mean less impact on the local community, fewer vehicle movements, and greater construction efficiency for the project. We’re proud to be at the heart of this landmark moment in HS2’s delivery.”

Chris Droogan, managing director of Cleveland Bridge UK, said: “We’re incredibly proud to play a part in the delivery of the UK’s largest infrastructure project and this is a significant addition to our track-record for producing structures for iconic developments around the world. 

“We’ve been very conscious of the need to continue work during the covid-19 crisis and have put extra measures in place to ensure we met government guidelines and follow best practice. This has enabled us to continue operating at 100%, which has been key to us staying on track to deliver our product on time.”