Work to start sliding the first section of the iconic bridge that will carry trams over Nottingham Station will take place overnight on Monday 11 February.
The movement of the first section of the impressive steel bridge, which will be known as Karlsruhe Friendship Bridge [Editor see below], marks a significant milestone in the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) project to extend the city’s tram lines to the south and south west of the city.
Measuring 104 metres long, 14.5 metres wide and weighing 1100 tonnes, the steel bridge is being built in two sections due to its sheer size. The first half has been built on top of four temporary towers at a height that will allow it to be launched over Queens Road into its final position over Nottingham Station.
A team of up to 30 people will ensure this first section of the bridge is pushed from the Crocus Street compound 50 metres over Queens Road towards the railway station. This precision engineering activity involves slowly sliding the bridge in 2.6 metre cycles, between 20:00 and 06:00 on five consecutive nights, using hydraulic jacks. During the launch, the bridge will be monitored from the end of the existing tram line using targets fixed to a specially designed nose that ensures it is launched correctly. The bridge is expected to move up to 13 metres per night.
Once the first half of the bridge is positioned over Queens Road, there will be room in the Crocus Street compound to construct the second half of the bridge. When this work is complete, the bridge section will be joined together and pushed over the station later this year.
Work will also take place to lay a concrete base on the bridge and install the tram tracks and tram stop to Nottingham Station. This is expected to be carried out early 2014.
When complete, the station bridge will connect with two further bridges to be positioned over Station Street and Queens Road. The three new bridges replicate the bridges which once stood in the same locations – Queens Road, Station Street and over the station – and formed part of the Great Central Railway.
Martin Carroll, NET Phase Two Project Director for Taylor Woodrow Alstom, said: “The team has worked hard to bring the bridge to its current stage which has involved innovative and complex temporary works. The support of our supply chain partners, Cleveland Bridge and Mammoet, has been key to delivery. There remains much work to do, but the entire project team is motivated by this significant milestone. When complete, the combined bridges will form a landmark structure and become symbolic of the transport system within Nottingham of which the extended tram network is part.”
Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transport at Nottingham City Council, said: “It’s wonderful to see such a feat of engineering take place. When complete, the three connecting bridges at Nottingham Station will become an iconic landmark for the city, and transform how people interchange between tram, train and other public and private forms of transport.
“Local people and businesses are already benefiting from employment opportunities on both tram and station projects, with almost 600 people working locally to construct the tram extension and to transform the Railway Station.”