River Witham Viaduct

Cleveland Bridge manufactured and installed all steel girders for the bridge. The main girders for the five spans were delivered as nine part length paired girders, which were spliced together on site. In total, Cleveland Bridge fabricated and supplied fifty four beam sections, varying in length from 19 to 38 metres. The total weight of steel supplied was 1,400 tonnes.

  • Year: 2020
  • Location: Lincolnshire, England
  • Client: Galiford Try
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As part of the construction of the 7.5km Lincoln eastern bypass, a major new viaduct was required to carry the road over the River Witham. The 225m-long bridge needed to span the river, as well as two dikes running along either side. The bypass project was part-funded by a Central Government capital grant, with the aim of improving Lincoln’s infrastructure, encouraging growth, minimising city-centre congestion and attracting investment.

To construct the bridge, main contractor Galliford Try needed to appoint a specialist steel contractor with expertise in major bridge construction over waterways in challenging environments.


total steel weight

225 metre

Total bridge length


Steel beam sections


Cleveland Bridge was chosen to fabricate and install the huge steel girders for the new bridge. The company had already supplied another bridge along the bypass route, and past experience meant Galliford Try trusted the company’s ability to deliver large and complex infrastructure projects.

The bridge design featured five spans, with the central span crossing the river. The length and weight of the spans meant that deep haunch girders were required to provide the
necessary structural strength.


One of the biggest challenges was the site itself. The wide floodplain and the dikes on either side of the river made it impossible to get a crane close to the river’s edge.

To overcome this restriction, a specialist 1,200-tonne crane – one of only a few of this size in the UK – was used, providing the reach and weight-bearing capabilities required. Nevertheless, using a single crane meant that one half of the bridge had to be constructed first, before he crane was moved over to the opposite bank to install the other half.



Another challenge was the route used to deliver materials to the site. To reach the northern bank of the river, deliveries had to travel through Lincoln city centre. This meant the girders had to be fabricated in shorter lengths than would generally have been necessary, so that they could negotiate the route to site. The restricted space on site meant that only a limited assembly area was available.


Despite all of these challenges, with flooding on the site for much of the programme, the project was delivered on time and on budget. This was achieved as a result of the close working relationships
established and maintained by all parties, from the planning stages through to delivery and installation. The whole programme was completed with no health and safety or environmental incidents.

The successful completion of this complex project on such a difficult site is a testament to the excellent collaboration between Cleveland Bridge, Sarens and GCS Johnson, communicating regularly and working closely with us at all times. They combined their expertise to devise solutions to the many challenges of the project, so that this bridge could
be completed on schedule and to the highest standards.

Tim Bowers, Project Director Galliford Try

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