Pivotal moment as girders for new £3.8m Gairnshiel Bridge are put into place

The two main girders of the bridge deck – each weighing 100 tons – were put in place using a Liebherr LG 1550 mobile crane.

The two main girders of the bridge deck – each weighing 100 tons – were put in place using a Liebherr LG 1550 mobile crane which took two days to construct on site.

Supported by approximately 14 articulated delivery vehicles, once assembled, the 550 tonne capacity crane gently lifted the girders onto the temporary bridge supports where they were locked in place to allow construction of the bridge deck itself. same.

A group of Year 6 and Year 7 pupils from nearby Ballater Primary School enjoyed a front view of the lift as they had special access to a secure viewing area alongside local councillors.

The school, as well as primary Crathie and Strathdon, will all receive a special K’Nex bridge building kit from Wills Bros to spark their interest and inspire potential young engineers of the future!

Several weeks earlier, six sections of the existing A939 road between Torbeg and Gairnshiel Bridge were surveyed and a new alignment designed by Wills Bros to ensure the crane could navigate safely to the site.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Bridges Manager, Donald MacPherson, said: “Today has certainly been a key moment in the construction of the new Gairnshiel Bridge and our thanks go to all who have been involved in completing the safe installation. This new structure will allow local residents and visitors to continue to enjoy the pleasures the area has to offer while providing improved travel times and reliability.

Jonathan Wills, Director of Wills Bros Civil Engineering Ltd, added: “The placement of these two huge bridge girders marks a key milestone in this highly anticipated project which, when completed, will benefit both the local community and to visitors to the region. We had the pleasure of hosting Year 6 and Year 7 pupils from Ballater Primary School and look forward to visiting pupils from nearby Crathie and Strathdon Primary Schools. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the surrounding communities and the traveling public for their continued cooperation and patience during this work.

The architecture of the bridge was designed by local architects Moxon of Crathie near Braemar, with Arcadis of Edinburgh playing a key role in the civil and structural design.

Moxon Managing Director Ben Addy said: “The new crossing will divert road traffic away from the original Gairnshiel Bridge, one of the region’s most important and beautiful historic structures, preserving it for years to come. come, while providing a crucial link for road users. between Deeside and Speyside.”

The existing Grade A listed structure is no longer suitable for modern traffic and with ever increasing volumes of vehicles and larger and heavier loads, the bridge suffered extensive damage for many years. However, this “old faithful servant” will be reserved for the use of non-motorized users.

Its new downstream replacement will have two lanes of traffic and will accommodate large utility vehicles.

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