HOCHTIEF successfully demolished and replaced a major steel arch highway bridge above multiple live rail lines at Paddington Station. The new 220m bridge spans fourteen Network Rail lines, two London Underground lines and the Grand Union Canal and was installed using the innovative technique of lifting and launching the new steel composite structure across the span.

Key features:

  • Bridge demolition
  • Construction of 220m bridge
  • Platform alterations
  • Tie-ins with existing road network
  • Management of over 400 possessions

Just as demolition began, an English Heritage (EH) inspector discovered that the canal bridge was an early design by Brunel, and, as such, it could not be demolished. Working closely with EH and the client team, we developed an alternative solution that involved carefully dismantling the canal bridge to be stored then rebuilt elsewhere.

To remove the canal bridge from the critical path, we devised an innovative construction method that involved lifting the main steel arch span crossing the 14 rail lines and launching the new bridge underneath it. We built the new bridge deck in two stages at the north abutment, away from the railway, before launching the deck halves longitudinally across the space. This reduced our reliance on night rail possessions and minimised work at height.

Following the deck launch, we lowered the old steel arch bridge onto Self PropelledModular Transporters to be transported in pieces by road. Although dismantling the bridge took three months longer than the original demolition, we still completed the new bridge on time and within the Target Cost and won a special commendation at the Historic Bridge and Infrastructure Awards 2004 for our handling of the Brunel Bridge. The new bridge eased traffic congestion and won theNetwork Rail Infrastructure Civil Engineering Achievement of the Year award, Medium Project Civil Engineering award at the British Construction Industry Awards, and an ICE Merit award.