Project Update - December 2013
Railway Begins to Take Shape
We are now over a year into the construction of the Borders Railway and three of the seven key project milestones have been completed. The team have worked tirelessly throughout 2013 and this is evident along the full length of route.
Some of the most visible work to date for people who travel along the route has taken place in the north section. From the temporary diversion of the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass, to the preparation work for the Hardengreen roundabout, masonry work on the Lothianbridge Viaduct and the installation of a new bridge over the A7 at Gore Glen.
North of the city bypass the project team has had to create a completely new track alignment and roads, as well as facing the challenges of a heavily mined area. Earthworks are now largely complete and the mining remediation will soon be drawing to a close.
Looking forward, the team will crane in the second bridge over the A7 in this area in February, at the Hardengreen roundabout. However the key challenge for the north team in 2014 will be opening up the new road networks in the Shawfair area to allow the railway corridor to cut through to the new bridge which has been created under the city bypass.
The team will undertake the important task of transferring the city bypass from its temporary alignment back to the original alignment in March before demolishing the temporary carriageway to make way for the railway.
The central section of the project is largely rural which presents its own challenges. Careful consideration has to be given to the environment through which the railway runs. Ecological constraints, such as protected species and the Gala Water, have influenced the way in which the team has worked behind the scenes.
More noticeably, the excavation and blasting operations at Falahill have been a success and are nearing completion. Approximately 145,000 tonnes of rock from the site has been recycled and is being used in the construction of the railway.
As winter draws in, the biggest challenge for the team heading into the New Year will be to maintain safe access to the more rural sites during the cold weather. In the coming months, road users will also see a change in the road alignment of the A7 and the opening of new roads at Fountainhall and Heriot.
Work in the south section throughout 2013 has largely been focused either side of Galashiels. The team has made significant progress at the site of Tweedbank Station as well as the significant excavation work which is being undertaken at Winston Road in Galashiels.
Hidden from view, a bridge was also renovated over the Ryehaugh Water and work was undertaken on the two tunnels in the project to remove the risk of delays to the programme.
During 2014 construction of the railway will progress through Galashiels. With a narrow corridor to work in, the construction programme will be carefully planned and executed.
Below is an outline programme of activity for next year:
Installation of bridge at Hardengreen roundabout
Completion of bridge under A720 Edinburgh City Bypass and removal of temporary diversion
Initial phases of track laying start
Start of construction of the seven new stations and installation of signals