As part of the A6 to Manchester Airport Relief Road (A6MARR), a new bridge is being constructed that will take the Hazel Grove Rail to Buxton railway line over the new road. From 25th to 29th March (the Easter Bank Holiday weekend), the Hazel Grove to Buxton railway line will be closed while we slide the new bridge into place. Services will continue using a rail replacement bus service. The closure of the rail line has been timed to minimise disruption to rail users and has been agreed with Network Rail.  Works will take place 24 hours a day from the night time of Thursday 24th March. Rail services will back in operation by approximately 6am Tuesday 29th March.

The rail bridge that we are sliding into place is one of the longest single span plate girder bridges of this type in the country. This is because the span of the bridge needs to be wide enough for the new dual carriageway road, a dedicated cycle/footway and provision to allow farm vehicles to enter adjacent fields without the need to cross the railway or obstruct users on the new road to go underneath the rail bridge.

Weighing in at over 400 tonnes, the steel bridge beams, along with approximately 1000 tonnes of reinforced concrete foundations, will be lifted into place over the Easter Weekend using special purpose modular transport units. The bridge will travel into position at walking pace to be bolted down onto large piles that have already been positioned at the four corners of the bridge. The railway will then be reinstated.

The bridge has been designed so that the outside layer of Iron Oxide protects the inner steel section that takes the loads and forces in the bridge.  This reduces  the cost of maintenance and risk to health and safety associated with re-painting the bridge once it is in use.

The bridge was transported to site as six main girders, (each weighing 55 tonnes) using specialist heavy lift  transport. The six girders sections were welded together on site to form two full length girder sections, which are linked by 33 cross girders and two end girders.

Photographs  taken while the bridge slide is taking place will be provided on the semmms website.

Further details of activities taking place over the Easter weekend are provided below.

Night shift Thursday 24th into Good Friday morning
Resource gathering at the bridge site, road rail equipment will access the railway to cut the rails and remove the tracks at the location of the new bridge.

Good Friday daytime
Large earthmoving machinery (diggers, bulldozers and dump trucks) will excavate out the railway embankment to make space for the new bridge to be positioned.

Good Friday night into Easter Saturday morning
New stone reinforced with fabric will be laid and compacted in layers with excavators, dump trucks and vibrating rollers and plates. When undertaking certain construction works it is essential for durability to use compaction equipment to ensure the materials are correctly placed. The steel casings to the piles installed in the ground last year will also be cut off to level. This creates the platform to place the bridge in position.

Easter Saturday Daytime
The bridge is then picked up and transported into position in line with the railway. The bridge is then bolted down in position.

Easter Saturday night into Easter Sunday
The new bridge is grouted in position and more stone fill is placed behind the concrete supports to the level of the railway on either side of the bridge.

Easter Sunday afternoon through Easter Sunday night into Easter Monday day

The railway lines are reinstated over the bridge, including welding the new track to the existing at the cut locations.

Easter Monday Afternoon
Completing works and handing back the railway.

Easter Monday Night
Equipment will be removed from trackside ready for the first train to run at approx. 6:00 on Tuesday 29th March 2016.

Excavation plant needed for the bridge slide will be delivered via the A6 during normal working hours in the days prior.  No large plant will be delivered via the A6 during the Easter Bank Holiday. Smaller plant and vehicles will be accessing the haul road located off Macclesfield Road throughout the weekend. The works are not expected to affect traffic on the A6.

We will work to minimise the impact of these works on local residents and will be closely supervising the operation to ensure that there is no unnecessary noise e.g. shouting, unnecessary reversing (causing reversing warnings to be sounded).