M8 footbridge pirouettes into place

02 August, 2021

Drivers using Scotland's busiest motorway on Sunday morning were the first to drive under the new iconic footbridge successfully installed by BAM Nuttall over the weekend.

The 14-hour closure of the M8 motorway commenced on Saturday evening, with BAM Nuttall and specialists, Mammoet driving the main span of the 2,420 tonne, structure down the M8 and into its final location.

Moving the unusually shaped 58 metre hourglass structure required meticulous planning to manage a range of challenges. In preparation for the Saturday’s lifting operations, extensive overnight work was required. A range of temporary works were designed to ensure the motorway and other assets were protected.

Joseph McBride, Sub Agent, discussed one of the main risks: “Below the carriageway runs the Monkland Canal pipeline, which carries 5 million gallons of water a day to the Forth and Clyde canal–enough water to quickly flood the motorway and parts of the city centre. To manage this risk, we carefully planned the route to intricately 'pirouette' the structure into place, while avoiding the existing assets within close proximity.”

Once in location, the landmark structure was progressively lowered onto the abutments before being jacked down into its final position. A viewing gallery was created to allow up to 20 visitors to watch this complicated operation from a safe vantage point.

Despite the complex route and pressure to get the road open for safe travel, the new weathering-steel bridge was installed an impressive 3.5 hours ahead of schedule both accident and incident free – this massively reduced potential disruptions to the road users.

In line with the city's commitment to a long-lasting regeneration, the BAM Nuttall project team has also been instrumental in providing opportunities for young, talented future generations of engineers – leaving a lasting legacy for Glasgow's future.

James Wilson, Agent, BAM Nuttall said:

"We currently have high school students on summer placement, graduates and apprentices working on site and the opportunity to see this type of engineering is invaluable – the M8 project will inspire a whole new generation of engineers."

“We had a challenging 14-hour programme ahead of us and the fact that the motorway opened nearly four hours early is evidence of this collaboration. Special thanks to the Severefield team for its expertise and dedication."

The new cyclist and pedestrian bridge will reconnect the north of Glasgow to the nearby city centre as part of a £250m regeneration of the area. The UK and Scottish funded scheme, the largest of its kind in the UK, outside of London, will offer affordable housing within walking distance of Glasgow’s most popular destinations. When complete, the new neighbourhood will feature 800 new homes, a new school campus, a park and vastly improved public spaces, shops and businesses.

Glasgow City Council have well underway in delivering new active travel routes across the city as part of their green avenues project

Andrew McKibbin, Principal Project Officer, Glasgow City Council, said:

“The successful installation of the M8 Bridge at Sightill was a complex project, and it has been a great collaborative effort between the council, BAM Nuttall and Jacobs teams working on it. We can look forward to delivering the rest of the project, which is due to be completed in Spring 2022.”

Now successfully installed, the team still have a lot of work to do as the contract involved construction the approaches to the bridge and creating a plaza to the north of the bridge.

You can watch the team’s impressive work, here:

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