Case Study

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Blacksole Footbridge

This project was to complete a Design & Build contract for the construction of a new 52 metre pedestrian/cycleway bridge. This included associated works of footpaths and lighting to provide access to the new Altira Business Park in Herne Bay, Kent in collaboration with NuSteel Structures, WSS Construction Consultants (our internal Design Division), Urban & Civic and Kent County Council.

NuSteel Structures carried out the bridge design which was an offsite construction with Walker Construction (UK) Ltd carrying out the installation and all associated works. The civil engineering design package was carried out by WSS Construction Consultants. The works at Blacksole Bridge consisted of the following, Site Surveys and Investigation works.

  • UXO Survey.
  • LUX level surveys.
  • Ecological survey.
  • Archaeological.
  • CAT scans.
  • Topographical Survey.
  • Ground investigation.
  • Soil geological testing.


Works included concrete piling, foundations, abutments, surface water drainage, existing service diversions, lighting, fencing, associated landscaping and the construction of adjoining footpaths alongside the east of Margate Road to connect to the boulevard within Altira Park. Additional temporary works consisted of the design and construction of crane pads, concrete abutments and bearing shelves. All the enabling works which included, excavation, piling, shuttering, reinforcement, concreting and reinstatement were carried out in a green zone working area with site wardens monitoring the sites. The piling was carried out by a specialist sub-contractor from our supply chain (Piletec Geotechnical Ltd); they carried out the pile design to take in all the governing factors such as load transfer, lateral resistance, hydrostatic uplift, installation and location.

The final design called for steel sheet driven piles to the perimeter of the foundation with reinforced concrete piles installed to specific areas within the design location. The retaining walls and bridge bases were fabricated on site using reinforced concrete to a specific design mix and placed on top of the pile caps.

To install the main footway bridge a specific methodology and programme was devised and agreed with all parties and stakeholders including Network Rail, the local authority, Highways England, the Environment Agency, the local residents, the bridge manufacturer and the crane company. By liaising with all of the aforementioned parties an installation date was agreed upon for the bridge to be delivered and lifted into place with the minimal disruption. A 1000t crane was required to lift the 52m bridge into position in a single lift. Prior to the lift date we installed a crane lift pad following a design by a specialist designer and additional temporary road widening for the delivery of the crane and bridge. Two smaller cranes were used to erect the 1000t crane on the day and were used again to dismantle the 1000t crane upon completion.

Once the crane was erected and in position with the bridge attached and the 12hr disruptive possession on the rail lines had been imposed, the bridge was lifted into place while the crowds of residents, onlookers and press were watching from a nearby vantage point.

When the main footbridge was set into position and the plant removed from site, the groundwork to the surrounding area on both sides of the bridge was carried out, including; new footpath works, fencing, road widening, lighting, signage and landscaping works.

The bridge was officially named and opened by the local town Mayor hailing a great collaborative project by all involved in installing the much needed bridge for the

local community. The local residents all came out to see and mark the grand opening of the bridge by the Mayor and gave interviews to the local press and media giving positive feedback on the project as a whole. The bridge was named “The Albert Hugo Friday Bridge” named after a World War II RAF pilot who tragically lost his life nearby and to remember his sacrifice to the country it is a befitting way in honouring him.

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