River Pontoon Plan as bridge repair begins

31 Jan 2008

David Leask, The Herald

A pontoon is likely to be built in the Clyde to help in the repair of Glasgow's Squinty Bridge.

Engineers are eager not to put any extra strain on the structure, which was closed earlier this month after one of the tensile steel ties broke off its iconic arch.

The pontoon would be used to station heavy machinery that can't be put on the bridge itself. Engineers were last night also scheduled to bring in a barge to help with their work.

Full-blown repairs began yesterday and are expected to last six months. The Herald understands a temporary tie - or hanger - has been installed to replace the one that fell off. All of the others will now be replaced.

Engineers are currently working from cranes at either end of the bridge. Only when all the 14 ties have been replaced will they feel confident enough to do heavy work on the deck of the bridge.

Within three weeks engineers will build a steel frame around the arch, concealing its elegant structure from view and changing the Glasgow skyline for months.

Each of the ties, which are essentially tension bars, weighs three or four tonnes and are designed to be removed for maintenance. Investigators are focusing on a single component used to attach the ties to the bridge's arch. One of the joints fractured, causing the initial accident. Fractures have since been found in a second.

The bridge, which is still under guarantee, is being repaired by its builders, Nuttals. It opened 16 months ago and cost £20m.

Reproduced with the permission of The Herald (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.

  • Clyde Arc