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Steel bridges the valley

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The first steel sections of the Rheola Bridge in South Wales have been lifted into position by Fairfield-Mabey.

Named after a local pub, the bridge forms an integral element of the Porth and Lower Rhondda Fach Relief Road in South Wales.

Fairfield is working with contractor Costain for client Rhondda Cynon Taff and will eventually supply 1,100t of structural steelwork for the 163m-long bridge.

The latest pieces to be lifted into position were the 1,100mm deep x 1,600mm wide box girder arches for the bowstring structure, which will span a main arterial road in Porth town centre, two rivers and an operational railway.

Arran Wharton, Fairfield-Mabey Project Manager said the most challenging aspect of the job was getting the cranes on to the restricted site.

“The biggest lift involved a 97t section of arch and this was lifted by 1,000t capacity mobile crane,” he said. “Logistically it was very difficult getting such as big piece of equipment on site.”

The bridge consists of three sections – two approach spans and the main 95m-long bowstring span.

Mr Wharton said the deck was positioned first with the support of temporary trestles, and once the arch sections and hanger bars are in place the temporary sections will then be dismantled.

Fairfield-Mabey will complete its steel erection work in September, and the Porth Relief Road is scheduled to open on 22 December 2006.

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