February 3rd 2011
A major scheme to strengthen the 160-year-old Britannia bridge, spanning the Menai Strait between Anglesey and the Welsh mainland, has got underway. The investment of nearly £4 million – a joint effort involving Network Rail, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Highways Agency – is contracted to Birse Rail and will help safeguard the structure which accommodates both a road and rail link.
More than 50 engineers will be working round-the-clock on the project over the next three months. To avoid disruption to traffic, they will be employing innovative techniques including the use of a barge and abseilers. A movable platform is being installed on the rail deck to access the structure.
The 460m bridge will undergo repairs to both its masonry and steelwork as well as having 1200m of drainage renewed and invasive plants removed. The steel portals on the approaches to the bridge are being repainted. A detailed examination will be carried out in the internal chambers of its three piers and a walkway is also being built to provide easier access for future inspections.
Considerable efforts are being taken to protect the listed structure and surrounding environment. Special paint will minimise pollution, equipment is being decontaminated before being brought to site and a new plant habitat created.