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Berkeley Bridge: In numbers and animals


The old bridge at Berkeley was successfully removed as one this weekend as part of essential works to the area. But to put into context the weight and amount of work that took place, the crane taller than 11 Giraffes lifted a bridge that was heavier than 14 Elephants.

The old bridge, which weighed nearly 100 tonnes, the equivalent of 14 adult African Elephants, was lifted out on Saturday, with beams for the new bridged installed on Sunday.

Due to the weight of the bridge, a specialist crane was needed that had enough reach and strength to move it. The crane, which is one of only three in the whole country, with a lifting capacity of 600 tonnes (approximately three Blue Whales), and had a height of 66m (or 11 male Giraffes stood on top of one another).

Such a big crane was needed because of the distance that the crane could be set up away from the railway, meaning that it was reaching out a long way, 40m from the centre of the crane to the centre of the bridge, which is approximately the length of 10 family sized cars.

After the bridge was lifted, the remainder of Saturday saw the preparation of the site for the new bridge being installed. On Sunday, five steel and concrete beams, weighing up to 87 tonnes each (or 24 male White Rhinos), were lifted into position to form the structure of the new bridge. Teams worked constantly through the weekend over the 52 hours that the railway line was closed to get the work done.

The crane will now be dismantled and the lane reopened under traffic lights on Friday 24th February. Work will continue with a number of shorter night railway closures arranged over the next couple of weeks to secure the protective wall onto the new bridge. Combining the structure into the highway with entry and exit slabs will also take place, as will the installation of safety barrier to protect road users.

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “This weekend has been an amazing triumph and I am so proud of all the hard work the team have put in working throughout the weekend to get the old bridge lifted out.

“Replacing the bridge has been an extremely technical operation requiring a lot of time and skill. I would again like to thank all road and rail users for their continued patience whilst the work has taken place, and look forward to the A38 being open and accessible for all once the project is completed later this year.”

Below is a time lapse video of the work that took place.


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