Two huge cranes, one weighing over 1000 tonnes, have been used to lift beams into place as part of a new bridge spanning the Calder and Hebble navigation, around Salterhebble, near Halifax.
Eight beams, 48 metres long, three metres wide and weighing over 250 tonnes in total, have been guided into position using the two cranes. They form part of a new bridge and link road between the A629, Calderdale Way and Stainland Road.
The beams being used are so huge, they had to be delivered to the construction site under movement order and a police escort, which required parts of the M62 and A629 to be closed.
The bridge scheme is part of phase 1b of the A629 improvement programme, which is funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. It is one of the largest individual civil engineering project ever undertaken by Calderdale Council, with the road layout around the Salterhebble area being completely transformed.
The project aims to improve road safety and journey times between Huddersfield and Halifax and will also include improved facilities for pedestrians, public transport users and cyclists. Improving the efficiency of the A629 is forecast to reduce ‘rat-running’ through adjacent communities such as Elland, West Vale, Siddal, Exley, Copley and Skircoat. It’s all part of the wider investment in, and regeneration of, Calderdale as part of the Council’s priority to develop thriving towns and places.
The Council is working on the project in partnership with the contractor John Sisk & Son and work is progressing well. Major elements of the project are already nearing completion, including the reconfiguration of the Jubilee Road junction and new resident parking lay-by. The construction of new walls and stonework along the A629 Huddersfield Road is also close to completion and works are underway to prepare the land behind for landscaping.
The full phase 1b project is due to be completed in late 2023 / early 2024. Some elements will be open earlier, such as the new link bridge which is due to open to traffic in summer this year. Restrictions on traffic movement will also be removed as soon as possible during this year. Updates and frequently asked questions about the works can be found here.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategy, Councillor Jane Scullion, said: “The bridge lift marks a major milestone in the progress of phase 1b of the A629 improvement project and I’d like to congratulate those involved in successfully completing the beam lift works. An engineering project of this scale requires an incredible amount of planning, not only to lift the extremely large and heavy beams, but also to manage the logistics of transporting them to the site.”
“Now the bridge structure is in place, we can see how the project will transform the landscape around the Calder and Hebble junction. As we reach the final year of the project, we’ll continue to see major changes which will ultimately create benefits for all transport users in the area and complement wider work around the borough, investment in our towns and our priority to create thriving places.”
Councillor Peter Carlill, deputy chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee said: “This is a colossal engineering project, and I am hugely impressed with the planning and work that has gone into this.”
“The scheme is so important for the people living in Calderdale and beyond, as it will help solve a bottleneck on the area’s roads, meaning the people living there will be safer.”
“We are pleased to see the scheme also includes improved access for those walking and cycling, as well as helping bus services to be more reliable with the reduced traffic.”
Sisk Managing Director, Dominic Hodges, said: “This is an important and exciting milestone for the project. Our team has worked very hard with Calderdale Council, our supply chain and numerous stakeholders to plan the logistics for this large-scale operation. It’s fantastic that all the hard work is now paying off.”
“Many people working on the project are local and feel proud to be involved in leaving such a legacy for the area.”
The A629 Phase 1b scheme has received over £28 million funding through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.