Project Update - October 2013
Around 1,000 people are now at work on the construction of the Borders Railway. At the northern end of the line, road users on the Edinburgh City Bypass will be able to see the progress of the excavation work on the A720 near the Sheriffhall roundabout. Once the excavation has finished a bridge will then be built so that the railway can run underneath the City Bypass. Meanwhile, those driving around the Hardengreen roundabout will have seen piling work occurring there in preparation for the arrival of the new bridge over the roundabout. A large piling rig, which is preparing the ground at either end, will be on site for a fortnight.
At Gore Glen, new bridge supports have been built on either side of the A7. In order to crane in the bridge deck, which will sit on those supports, the road will be closed during a weekend in late October or early November. The project team will ensure that local residents and road users are notified in advance of this temporary closure.
Significant progress has been made with structures all along the line. Several new concrete bridges have been constructed. Four main support beams have been craned in on the bridge over Ryehaugh Water. A7 road users will also see distinctive white encapsulation tents being built over the old wrought iron hog-back railway bridges. The encapsulation tents protect the environment from the contaminants which are generated when we grit-blast the bridges in order to repair and paint them, thus bringing them up to modern standards.
The majority of the Borders Railway route follows the former railway alignment, however, over some short sections, the route varies slightly. This is the case at Falahill, where a different railway and road alignment requires the removal of some significant sections of rock. We achieve this using specialised blasting techniques. Blasts will occur twice per week for another 11 weeks. The process is closely controlled by highly trained specialists and, while no rock is expected to be discharged from the site, the project team are taking no chances. As a result, there are short precautionary closures of the A7 in the vicinity of Falahill. After each blast the road is inspected before reopening. The traffic light controlled stoppages at Heriot Way and Falahill Farm last for approximately 7 minutes.
The material removed at Falahill is being used to build road embankments further along the route in Heriot and Fountainhall; construction of the new Heriot access road is progressing well.
And in Galashiels the project team have begun work to excavate tonnes of material which has lain under Winston Road for over 40 years. This will allow the new railway bed to be constructed at the right level and for a new road bridge to then be built over the railway.