The Dudley Road Improvement Scheme includes upgraded junctions, new bus lanes, new segregated cycle routes, widened footways and a new footbridge alongside Spring Hill Canal Bridge.

In order to extend carriageway widths on Spring Hill to the required standards, it was necessary to remove a footpath. The new footbridge replaces the footpath, providing safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists over the canal.

The challenges
The position of the footbridge had to tie in with the levels of the carriageway and provide a set amount of clearance for canal users. In order to achieve this, a slim profile design was required, which determined an aluminium construction. However, the number of companies worldwide capable of manufacturing an aluminium bridge is very limited.

There were a number of stakeholders involved in this stage of the project. Dudley Road is a key route for public transport, a major hospital is situated virtually opposite the site of the bridge. In addition to closing a major road network, the canal would also require closure during installation.

Birmingham City Council were inviting members of their senior management team to view the installation of the bridge. Planning an installation date that suited the programme schedule and which worked for the client was also a consideration, especially as the bridge was being shipped from Europe and subject to multiple regulations.

The solutions
We instructed a Shropshire based specialist bridge installer, who acted as liaison with the bridge manufacturer based in Germany.

Early engagement with Birmingham City Council and private transport companies provided a clear plan for road closures and diversions.

Installation of the bridge would require road closures for between 4 – 5 hours, it was decided that the work must be undertaken during a Sunday evening.

A full canal closure was agreed with the Canal and River Trust. A physical blockade was put in place to prevent any boats approaching the site.

A safe viewing area was created for members of Birmingham City Council, other stakeholders and the general public.

The result
McPhillips Contracts Manager Paul Handley commented: “The installation was a great success, our team on the night and our partners did a fantastic job, it was a very well organised operation.”

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