Swing bridge installation marks milestone of Inverness Western Link infrastructure project

30th March 2021

Cleveland Bridge UK has completed the installation of a new swing bridge in North East Scotland, which will improve road and canal traffic flow as part of a major highways infrastructure scheme in Inverness.

The 39-metre road and pedestrian Torvean Bridge is the second swing bridge to cross the Caledonian Canal at this location and is designed encourage free flow of traffic on the A82.

This will be achieved with the new structure working in tandem with the existing Tomnahurich swing bridge. Vehicles will be diverted to use one of the pair of bridges while the other is open to allow boats to pass through, preventing congestion on road or water.

Main Contractor, RJ McLeod, awarded the fabrication and installation of the bridge to Cleveland Bridge UK. Various mechanical, hydraulic and electrical components from throughout the UK were installed on the bridge to allow it to swing across the canal.

Steve Scott, project manager for RJ McLeod said: “We were impressed with Cleveland Bridge UK’s technical expertise and experience in fabricating bridges of this complexity.

“A collaborative working relationship was established at the outset with all parties and designer Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure which has been beneficial throughout the delivery of this project.”

The 150te steel bridge components were fabricated and painted at the Cleveland Bridge UK’s extensive factory in Darlington, County Durham before being transported to the Highlands.

After arriving at the works site adjacent to the canal the bridge components, including 90te counterweight blocks, were assembled and subsequently installed utilising a 500te mobile crane by Cleveland Bridge UK and its supply chain partners, all under highly stringent Covid-safety working conditions.

The swing bridge forms a key component of Stage 2 of the Highland Council’s Western Link bypass, which will deliver a significant upgrade to the A82 road between Fort William and Inverness.

Chris Droogan, managing director at Cleveland Bridge UK, said: “Our team worked incredibly well alongside our client and supply chain partners, to ensure the project was successfully completed.

“Combining our swing bridge expertise and flexibility of our engineers to adapt to the COVID-19 restrictions, which we have been working to over the last year, we were delighted with the outcome of this project and our contribution to this important highway infrastructure project.”

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