Introduction

A development project to refurbish and repair St Julian’s viaduct in Newport, Gwent. At approximately 99 metres long and 8.6 metres wide the bridge was originally built in 1874 and a refurbishment and strengthening project had been undertaken on it in the 1960s. However, since that time it had deteriorated and required serious upgrading. The onsite team consisted of Balfour Beatty Rail engineers, civil engineers Tony Gee and Partners and SRK Scaffolding.

About the project

The project objective was to allow the main deck of the bridge to be strengthened and new bracings to be installed on the piers. However, before any major repairs could be carried out a full inspection of the under steel deck had to be completed and this is where the first of the three scaffolding phases was undertaken.

SRK built a lightweight scaffold which enabled the civil engineers to inspect the condition of the steelwork without putting any strain on the bridge.

The next stage was to build a more substantial deck to allow the new steel bracing and strengthening to be installed. Work began on the second phase from the South Embankment of The River Usk, inside the brick arches and then moved out, span to span, thus allowing river traffic access through at all times. This meant that one of the two middle spans were kept clear.

Once the steel structure had been upgraded the third phase of the scaffold could be undertaken. This consisted of scaffold hanging from the underdeck steels, then running up the face of the bridge with boarded platform at various heights to allow blast and painting and then moving over the top flange of the main longitudinal girders and down onto the trackside. This was then covered in shrink wrap containment sheeting. All of this had to be scheduled through 99 metre arches and spans to allow free passage for any river traffic.