Largest new structure installed on Borders Railway

The Borders Railway project has successfully installed its longest new bridge, bringing the 30-mile railway one step closer to completion and creating a new landmark for Midlothian. 

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Hear more about the works from Transport Minister Keith Brown, Network Rail’s project director, Hugh Wark and BAM's project director, Nissar Mohammed, here. 

Minister for Transport and Veterans, Keith Brown joined project directors from Network Rail and BAM to watch the bridge’s installation over Hardengreen roundabout between Eskbank and Newtongrange. The new structure, which will span 71.5 metres once completed, required a 1,200 tonne crane used to hoist the bridge’s four 107 tonne beams into place.

A 30-strong construction team worked around the clock over the weekend to carry out the precise process of lifting the bridge beams into place. Sections of the bridge deck and parapets were also installed. The weekend closure followed seven months of preparatory work, when the bridge piers were constructed on site. Work to complete the structure will continue in two weeks, with a further closure of the round about between 28 Feb and 3 March. 

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Watch time-lapse footage of the works here.

Commenting on the construction milestone, Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“It is incredibly exciting to see the longest new bridge of the Borders Railway being lifted into place – one of the most significant milestones in this project, which is reinstating the links between the Borders and the Central Belt more than 40 years after they were ripped out by the Beeching cuts.

“The building of the bridge at Hardengreen is a real symbol of the resurrection of this railway line and all it means for the people of the Borders and Midlothian – new job and investment opportunities, social benefits, increased tourism, improved safety on the roads.

“I’ve also been able to see the more immediate benefits by meeting trainees working on the site, seeing the specialist engineering talent in action and hearing all about the Scottish firm employed to undertake the work here at Hardengreen. Around 400 jobs are being created on this project, which is employing up to 1,000 people at any one time.

“Work is now underway all along the 30-mile route of the Borders Railway and we are really gathering momentum towards the opening next year.”

Hugh Wark, project director, Network Rail, said:

“We’re at a critical phase of the project, with a lot of the key pieces of civil engineering nearing completion. While we still have lots to do here at Hardengreen, the installation of this bridge is another major milestone for the project and marks the start of a busy period for the northern section of the route.

“We’d like to thank the local community and motorists for their patience while these works took place. Phase two of works will take place at the end of this month and will require the same road closures over the weekend as phase one.”

BAM project director, Nissar Mohammed commented:

“As with all major construction work, there are always lots of factors to consider, particularly the weather.  While our team on the ground worked extremely hard to ensure the work was carried out on time, lets not forget those behind the scenes who helped with the logistics of this installation.

“While we’re pleased to get this installation work completed, this bridge is just one of 37 which need to be completed before we can start laying railway later this year, so once it’s finished, we’ll be moving on quickly to the next structure.

Phase two of works, from 28February – 3 March 2014, will see major construction work on the main bridge structure completed. This will require the same closures as phase one from 10pm Friday to 6am Monday, to ensure the safety of the workforce and the travelling public.

Throughout phase two of works, Hardengreen Roundabout will be closed and local diversions in place:

  • Motorists coming to and from the Edinburgh City By-Pass, A720 are advised to use the A68 instead of the A7
  • HGVs travelling north and south should use the A68 rather than the A7
  • Midlothian motorists travelling north on the A7 should follow diversion signs for B704 along Cockpen Road
  • Motorists travelling towards Edinburgh from Newtongrange will be diverted along the B6482
  • Motorists using the B6392 (Dalhousie Rd) and B703 ( Newbattle Rd) are asked to follow the local diversion via A6094 (Eskbank Road) or B6392 (Melville Rd)
  • Only local access will be permitted on A7, South of Hardengreen -Roundabout to Dalhousie Mains cottages and local businesses.

Parking restrictions will also be in place for the duration of the weekend closures to allow for the moving of materials on the A6094 across Bonnyrigg Road, Eskbank Road and Lothian Street and along the B704 across Dundas Street and Cockpen Road.

As a result of the road closures around the perimeter of the works and in the interest of health and safety, members of the public will not be able to watch the works but are encouraged to keep up to date with progress via the project’s Twitter feed (@BordersRailway).

The planned works are weather dependent. Please ensure you check the Borders Railway website and Twitter page for up to date details: www.bordersrailway.co.uk / @BordersRailway