Contractors in Immingham are preparing for a major engineering project which will see a new 4,000 tonne bridge slid into place under a railway.
While most of the country is celebrating Christmas, more than 100 contractors will work around the clock to install the bridge at Rosper Road under the railway line which carries freight trains between the Port of Immingham and Ulceby.
The work marks a major milestone in a Highways England project to improve road access to one of the UK’s busiest ports, as part of the government’s 5 year Road Investment Strategy.
The scheme includes upgrading a 3 mile section of the A160 between the A180 and the port to a dual carriageway along its entire length.
In a complex piece of engineering, the bridge will be slid into position by 4 hydraulic jacks weighing more than 5 tonnes each once 20,000 tonnes of earth have been removed from the existing rail embankment. The team will be working with 40 and 20 tonne excavators, 35 tonne long reach excavators, a bulldozer and 8 dump trucks. Construction of the bridge started in July, and has taken around 100,000 working hours to complete. Highways England will take possession of the site from Network Rail at 10pm on Thursday 24 December (Christmas Eve) for 76 hours to complete the work.
The bridge slide marks a significant milestone in the progress of the Highways England £88.4 million A160/A180 Port of Immingham improvement scheme.
As part of the project, improvements will also be made to junctions along the route, including a new roundabout at the junction with the A180, a new bridge over the A160 on Town Street, and the new road under the railway line by the port.
Roads Minister Andrew Jones said:
This impressive engineering feat is an important step towards improving access to this major UK port and is part of the government’s record £15 billion roads investment strategy.
Immingham is vital to the regional and national economy, and the government is determined that both thrive as part of our long-term economic plan. I look forward to the completed road scheme supporting the port’s continued growth, improving the lives of those in the surrounding communities and boosting connectivity across the UK.
Highways England Project Manager Ben Ridgeon said:
This is a complex piece of engineering at a strategically important site which is why our contractors will be doing this work over the Christmas period.
Collaboration has been an instrumental part of this project – not merely between our contractors and Network Rail but also with our local stakeholders. We are extremely proud to be playing such an important role in delivering vital improvements to infrastructure in the Humberside area.
The Port of Immingham is the UK’s largest port by tonnage and handles up to 55 million tonnes of goods every year, including nearly 20 million tonnes of oil and 10 million tonnes of coal.
Around 50 per cent of the UK’s coal and 25 per cent of the country’s Biomass travels through the port. More than 100 abnormal loads currently travel through the scheme on the A160 each month. These include wind turbines which arrive at the port before being transported to locations around the country.
The freight line will be closed from 10pm on Thursday 24 December and the first freight train is expected to travel on the line at 5am on Wednesday 30 December.
Humber Road will be closed between Manby Road roundabout and Rosper Road from 8pm on Thursday 24 December until 6am on Monday 28 December.
Mark Tarry, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said:
This new bridge project supports the aims of our Railway Upgrade Plan which will see us invest around £100 million upgrading signalling this Christmas to better support economic growth at the Port of Immingham.
We have worked closely with Highways England to make sure that this important and complex piece of work can be carried out safely and efficiently.
Simon Bird, Humber Director at the port’s owner Associated British Ports (ABP) said:
Immingham is the UK’s busiest port and currently contributes £460 million to the regional economy every year. As such, connectivity is crucial and these improvements will facilitate traffic flow and will have a positive impact on freight movements, which will in turn ensure the future success of the port.
The Port of Immingham road improvement project began in March and is due to be completed in Autumn 2016. More details on the scheme, including a computer-generated video showing how the upgraded road will look, are available at the road project website.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.