Shay Murtagh Precast Concrete’s role in the replacement of the old railway bridge at Dredgeman Hill in Haverfordwest was pivotal.
Accustomed as the forty year old company is to working to tight schedules, one weekend to remove the old bridge and replace it with a new one posed quite a challenge to the logistics team. The eighty seven tonne collision beam and the two cill beams needed to arrive at the small village of Merlin’s Bridge on time almost to the minute. The railway bridge crosses a busy main road, and disruption needed to be minimised as far as possible.
The project formed an important part of the £4.25 million upgrade works undertaken by Network Rail and its contractors AmcoGiffen to improve the reliability of the railway in West Wales. The old bridge had been a dangerous point on the A4076 for some time. High lorries had hit it on several occasions, and on one of them had caused a complete shutdown of the road at Dredgeman Hill when a lorry became wedged under the bridge, and could not be freed for two hours. The new bridge was to be a foot higher so that the big lorries that are now frequent users of the road network in Pembrokeshire could negotiate it in safety.
The road was closed to all traffic except emergency services and residents on Friday evening, with a signposted road diversion route and a shuttle bus service operating for the duration of the closure. The old bridge had to be removed, the supporting pillars upgraded and reinforced, and the new collision beam and tracks installed, all within the timescale of one winter weekend.
The off-site fabrication service offered by Shay Murtagh again proved its worth in meeting a tight schedule. Network Rail and AmcoGiffen had planned the operation with meticulous attention to detail and had chosen Shay Murtagh not only for the quality of the precast units it could manufacture, but also for its reputation in delivering them to difficult sites on time, and ready for immediate installation. Shay Murtagh leads the field in the manufacture of this essential component of major civil engineering works in the transport infrastructure of the UK.
Rhys Howells, scheme project manager for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “The previous bridge deck was nearing the end of its serviceable life, and has now been replaced with a more resilient structure which will help to keep the railway in West Wales running reliably.”