An impressive new bridge is emerging at the construction site of the new Belfast Grand Central Station.
On completion, the bridge will cross over the newly realigned railway lines, to allow buses from Broadway roundabout near the Westlink access to the new facilities at Belfast Grand Central Station.
The ‘bridge lift’ has now been completed on site, during which GRAHAM’s Civil Engineering team installed two 150 tonne steel girders, using an 800 tonne mobile crane, marking a significant milestone.
The Busway Bridge is a key aspect of Translink’s Belfast Grand Central Station project which will deliver a modern high-quality integrated transport hub to enhance local and international connectivity with bus, coach, and rail links across Northern Ireland and beyond. It will also have a key environmental role in helping to attract more people to public transport, reducing congestion and air pollution in the region.
Translink’s Project Manager for Belfast Grand Central Station, Conor McLornan said:
“It’s really exciting to see significant progress on this integral element of the Belfast Grand Central Station project. We have worked very closely with GRAHAM and after months of hard work it’s great to see the Busway Bridge taking shape. Commencing this element of the project in advance of the Station build has enabled our work on site to be more efficient.
“Completion of this package of work will enable us to deliver our next stage of bus and rail infrastructure, future proofing our facilities, enhancing passenger experiences, creating smarter sustainable transport options and ensuring that Translink continues to be first choice for travel, for today, for tomorrow.”
To enhance sustainability, the Busway Bridge is fabricated from weathering steel with a distinctive rust-like appearance. This will prevent corrosion, meaning the bridge will not require painting while achieving a 120 year design life with only nominal maintenance.
The bridge, which has been designed by ARUP, has a span of 51 metres, longer than an Olympic-size swimming pool. Once completed the bridge will weigh 480 tonnes, equivalent to 80 adult African elephants or 40 double decker buses.
ARUP’s Project Director, Chris Caves, said:
“After years of careful planning we are delighted to see construction of the bridge progressing well on site. The weathering steel structure will be the first of its kind on the public transport network in Northern Ireland and will ensure sustainability is at the heart of the project. The Busway Bridge is a significant part of the development of Belfast Grand Central Station and the wider regeneration of Weavers Cross.”
Andrew Henry, Contracts Director, GRAHAM, said: "We are delighted by the progress that has been made. Teams have worked together incredibly hard over recent months to get to this stage, and we are all delighted to be playing our part in this transformation scheme which will leave a lasting legacy for transport in the city of Belfast.
"Particularly pleasing for me has been success of the apprenticeship programme with around 100 weeks of apprenticeships supported to date on this phase of the project, with 11 new entrant trainees employed, with the majority of those living or studying less than 3 miles from the project site. They are the future of the industry. It all fits in with the company's vision to build better futures and transforming and maintaining the places where we live, work and relax."
Because of their scale and weight, the steel girders used on the bridge had to be transported to the site in separate pieces due to restrictions on the route. GRAHAM’s structural steel supplier, Thompson’s Project Management completed fabrication on site by welding sections together.
In the new year, the deck of the bridge will be installed to complete this element of the Belfast Grand Central Station project.