New bridge reunites two communities

8 August 2011

Local residents in West Yorkshire celebrated the reunion of their communities, after the completion of a new bridge across the M62, with a special ribbon cutting ceremony to mark its reopening, attended by local schools, community leaders, Costain, Lafarge May Gurney, A-one+ and the Highways Agency.

The Whitechapel Bridge carries the busy B6120 and connects the town of Cleckheaton and the village of Scholes, which were cut off from each other for nearly a year while the new bridge was under construction.

There are four schools in the immediate vicinity of the bridge, which generate a high volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Residents in Scholes had to take a two-mile detour to get to the other side of Whitechapel Road while the new bridge was built.

The scheme was project managed by A-one+, a joint venture comprising Costain, Colas and Halcrow as part of an Area 12 MAC contract. Work started on the scheme in February 2010 with the diversion of utilities away from the old structure.

Once all the telephone, electric, gas and water services were diverted from the existing bridge, the main works started in August.

The previous bridge comprised 32 individual pre-cast concrete beams with an insitu reinforced concrete deck, arranged in four spans across the M62 on three piers. The bridge suffered from alca-silica attack, particularly around the half joints, which made any future maintenance simply unviable. The only option was to replace the bridge.

The demolition had to be carefully planned due to the old bridge containing asbestos, therefore the use of explosives was ruled out. All 32 beams were removed individually by a crane and were broken up off-site under controlled conditions.

Extensive planning was required with Yorkshire Water to construct the £1.5million water sewer diversion, which involved serving notices to local landowners and construction of a 160 metre long 1.8 metre diameter tunnel under the M62.

Commenting on the project, Highways Agency Project Manager, Sujad Hussain said: “It was a well planned and executed project which very much involved the local community.”

Peter Bamfield, A-one+’s Project Manager, said: “It was a pleasure working with the people of Cleckheaton and Scholes. It was important that we caused the minimum amount of disruption to local residents, which is quite an achievement considering we had to close the motorway on 12 occasions.”