Highways England have reported that the steel and concrete repair work to Clifton Bridge eastbound will continue until the end of the year, with hopes to open more lanes by the end of November, as reported by Nottinghamshire Live .
The announcement by Regional Director Catherine Brookes comes after two years of repairs and the bridge’s capacity being reduced to one lane of traffic for safety reasons. These measures have led to Nottingham becoming at one point the most congested city in the world according to the TomTom traffic index report.
Clifton Bridge, a hollow concrete bridge held taught with large steel cables, has faced repairs since 2018, where a large crack was uncovered and concrete repairs took place in 2019.
During an inspection in February 2020, engineers discovered that the steel cables were significantly corroded, which had the potential to lead to significant structural issues if not solved. This led to an emergency closure of the bridge whilst emergency repair work would take place.
Detailed investigation work and sample testing has taken place within the hollow chambers of Clifton Bridge, with specialist engineering teams following social distancing measures, increasing the repair time.
Hydrodemolition has also taken place to destroy corroded concrete and create an ideal bonding surface for new concrete. However, due to the confined space and sheer speed that concrete projectiles will launch from the hydro-demolition site, the engineers involved have worn protective suits to avoid injury.
Once the investigation work was completed, a months-long analysis process also took place. Complex 2D and 3D models were built of the inner workings of Clifton Bridge and the steel and concrete repair work required, as well as structural strengthening measures.
As part of the bridge was affected by water making its way inside the concrete chambers and the resulting corrosion this causes, more steel and concrete will be added to these areas. This works to not only fix the problem at hand but prevent further problems with steel corrosion in the future that may lead to more closures of the stricken bridge.
The repair process consists of two phases, the first of which is currently taking place on the left-hand side of the bridge. Once complete, the second phase will take place on the right-hand side, potentially allowing another lane of traffic to reopen.
During this time, the traffic surrounding Clifton Bridge has become a point of contention between the city council and motorists, with the sudden reduction of Clifton Bridge to one lane causing significant delays to journeys in and out of Nottingham.
This was compounded when Highways England did open a second lane that could only be used by light vehicles. This was closed almost as quickly as it opened due to heavy goods vehicles ignoring the weight limit.
The national lockdown that began in March initially mitigated this issue, however with the easing of lockdown measures, traffic levels have steadily increased again.
If you need advice or help with concrete repairs, contact Composites Construction UK Ltd today.