The project by Network Rail and North Lanarkshire Council will see the replacement of the bridge deck to provide increased clearance. The often bashed Bellside Bridge at Cleland, Wishaw, has been damaged by high sided vehicles and the project to replace the deck will prevent further incidents.
The rail bridge crosses over the A73 and has earned the position of Scotlands most struck bridge and is also the seventh most struck bridge throughout the UK.
If a vehicle does strike a rail bridge, both the road and rail line must close whilst an inspection is undertaken. For Bellside Bridge, this means traffic will be diverted through Cleland village
The work will be carried out by Story Contracting and the project is expected to take around eight weeks and will involve replacing the original bridge deck with a slimmer version, which will create the extra head room needed beneath the structure. The engineering project will also mean that Bellside Bridge will lose its classification of low bridge and also the need to maintain a signed diversion route via Cleland for high sided vehicles. The project is expected to impact positively on the local road network and will mean trains can run more safely and reliably.
For the essential work to go ahead in a safe environment means a road will need to be closed. Road users will be informed of the need for a five week road closure on the A73 from south of the junction with Fernieshaw Road to north of Bellside roundabout which will take place from Monday the 13th of September 2021 and will last until Friday the 15th of October 2021. A clearly signed diversion will be in place throughout the closure.
Councillor Michael McPake, Convener of the Environment and Transportation Committee, said: “The work at Bellside Bridge will bring significant road safety improvements for residents and businesses in Cleland, as heavy lorries will no longer need to travel through the village.
“Thanks to our partnership work with Network Rail, a long-term solution to the problem of lorries striking the bridge will be delivered before the end of this year.”
Stewart Lothian, Network Rail’s structures asset manager for Scotland, said: “This bridge is the most bashed in the country and has been struck 56 times over the last decade causing over 3,000 minutes of delay to trains.
“We are pleased to have been able to work with North Lanarkshire Council to find a long-term solution to this problem which will improve performance and enhance safety on our railway.”
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