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Britain's railway network is under increasing pressure with rising passenger numbers and the need to upgrade and maintain ageing infrastructure. Engineers do not have the luxury of time when carrying out vital infrastructure improvements.
Using the Thorndell Viaduct as a case study, this lecture will explore how innovative techniques, planning and exemplary partnership can allow successful and safe delivery of vital railway works in an environmentally sensitive setting, with minimal disruption to the travelling public.
Thorndell Viaduct was a £5.5 million design and construct project for the replacement of the existing 58m six span iron railway viaduct with a new reinforced concrete structure during a single possession. The rail viaduct forms part of the main route from the south coast via Horsham and Gatwick to London termini and is situated on a flood plain.
The new structure removes a 'heavy vehicles restriction' and provides a 120-year design life with a minimal future maintenance requirement. This was a technically challenging project requiring close co-operation between the teams of the client Network Rail, BAM Nuttall, Cass Hayward design team and the specialist contractors, to apply a number of innovative techniques to minimise environmental impact and promote buildability.
Access to the site required a 1km access road which was constructed using a soil stabilisation technique to substantially reduce the impact on the area. The foundation for the structure consists of 25-metre piles which support a reinforced concrete raft with piers and abutments. The new deck was constructed offline and comprises 80 individual precast elements, which were cast on site. The deck was installed in 76 hours including the removal of the existing structure with the new 1,476 tonne deck moved into position using self-propelled modular transport.
Following completion of the structure the area was reinstated to provide an improved habitat for water voles. The project team achieved an excellent safety record with no reportable accidents throughout the contract period.
Our speakers are Sven Heuten, Site Agent BAM Nuttall, Gareth Davies, Designer Cass Hayward and David Edwards, formerly employed by BAM Nuttall (Design Manager).