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Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
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2:18 PM 20th May 2020

Complex Work On Iconic Yorkshire Structure Finishes A Year In Advance

Engineers have defied the odds to complete complex work on an iconic Yorkshire structure one year ahead of schedule.

The work has been carried out under the bridge, out of sight of drivers
The work has been carried out under the bridge, out of sight of drivers
All 208 bearings have been replaced by contractors working diligently underneath Ouse Bridge, which sits on the M62 and spans River Ouse between Goole and Howden. Suspended 25 metres above the ground, workers have managed to finish the job out of sight of the thousands of drivers who use the bridge every day.

Ouse Bridge, which sits on the M62, has had its bearings replaced for the first time
Ouse Bridge, which sits on the M62, has had its bearings replaced for the first time
The completion of the bearing work, which started in May 2018, allows the bridge to move in a controlled way during changes in temperature and weather. It’s the first time the bearings have been replaced since the instantly-recognisable structure was unveiled in 1976.

Highways England project manager Elvis Agbodo said:

“We were due to finish in 2021 but our workers pulled out all the stops and have now replaced the last bearing. This meticulous job was also carried out without disturbing a pair of nesting peregrines whose home is under the bridge.

“Initially the bridge was being jacked up one pier at a time during the overnight closures, but as the team became more efficient this changed to jacking one and de-jacking another on the same night, halving the number of road closures needed for our customers.”

A full-size mock-up of the bridge was set up off-site which allowed contractors to examine every challenge likely to be encountered during the project, but in a controlled environment at ground level. It also became a good training environment for contractors before they started work on site.

Regular planning sessions and workshops also ensured the work was carried out as efficiently as possible.

With the new bearings now in place the team will now turn their attention to replacing the bridge parapet so a temporary 50mph speed limit can be removed. This is due to start on 5 June and be completed by the end of August.