Innovative engineering solution saves £5M on Royal Border Bridge

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Innovative engineering solution saves £5M on Royal Border Bridge

On behalf of Network Rail, Story Contracting are currently repairing the iconic Royal Border Bridge in Northumberland.

The 28-arch, Grade I listed masonry bridge sits across the River Tweed, which presented access challenge for Story engineers to deliver the repairs which include replacement brickwork, masonry maintenance, and replacement metal straps.

Ordinarily, for a job this size, scaffolding would be erected around the entire structure for the engineers to work from. For the Royal Border Bridge, this alone would take around six months and cost £9m. Additionally, the rigid scaffolding platforms would make accessing the hard-to-reach areas, and overhead works, complex.

Working collaboratively with Network Rail and key supply chain partner Ropetech Access Solutions, Story found an innovative solution to save cost and time – using abseilers (engineers on ropes) and a suspended cradle system to deliver the repairs.

By using abseilers, the duration of the project has been shortened by six months and a £5m cost saving has been made. With a number of safety procedures and processes in place, this way of working is just as safe as scaffolding.

Dan Jones, Operations Director, said: “By working smarter and looking at innovative ways to reduce cost and programme, this project has become an excellent example of embracing SPEED principles. Thank you and well done to the combined team of Story, Network Rail Capital Delivery Eastern, the Route Engineer team and our trusted partner, RopeTech for fully committing to the Agile Client Eastern model to deliver a project for us all to be proud of.’’

Stef Young, Director of Ropetech Access Solutions, said: “Taking time to visit Royal Border Bridge with the planning team allowed us to look at a number of different approaches to the project, we needed to find a balance between cost, safety, access and program.

“We are delighted to be part of the RBB project and working closely with Story in developing a system that not only reduces the original expected program, but also achieved a £5M saving.”

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