The 14-hour closure of the M8 motorway began on Saturday evening, with BAM Nuttall and specialist Mammoet driving the main span of the structure down the M8 and into its final location.
The new weathering-steel bridge was installed 3.5 hours ahead of schedule.
Moving the unusually shaped 58m-long hourglass structure required meticulous planning and preparation. Sub agent Joseph McBride discussed one of the main risks: ‘Below the carriageway runs the Monkland Canal pipeline, which carries five million gallons of water a day to the Forth and Clyde canal –enough water to quickly flood the motorway and parts of the city centre. To manage this risk, we carefully planned the route to intricately 'pirouette' the structure into place, while avoiding the existing assets within close proximity.”
Once in location, the structure was progressively lowered onto the abutments before being jacked down into its final position. A viewing gallery was created to allow up to 20 visitors to watch the operation from a safe vantage point.
The BAM Nuttall project team has also been instrumental in providing opportunities for young, engineers. BAM Nuttall agent James Wilson said: “We currently have high school students on summer placement, graduates and apprentices working on site and the opportunity to see this type of engineering is invaluable – the M8 project will inspire a whole new generation of engineers. We had a challenging 14-hour programme ahead of us and the fact that the motorway opened nearly four hours early is evidence of this collaboration. Special thanks to the Severfield team for its expertise and dedication.”
The new cyclist and pedestrian bridge will reconnect the north of Glasgow to the nearby city centre as part of a £250m regeneration of the area. When complete, the new neighbourhood will have 800 new homes, a new school campus, a park and vastly improved public spaces, shops and businesses.
Andrew McKibbin, principal project officer at Glasgow City Council, said: “The successful installation of the M8 Bridge at Sighthill was a complex project, and it has been a great collaborative effort between the council, BAM Nuttall and Jacobs teams working on it. We can look forward to delivering the rest of the project, which is due to be completed in spring 2022.”
Further work on the bridge lies ahead, as the contract also involves construction of the approaches to the bridge and creating a plaza to the north of the structure.