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01 October 2008

Mott MacDonald’s Besses O’ Th’ Barn Bridge UK contract

Mott MacDonald has been appointed by Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) as "bridge master" consultant for Besses O’ Th’ Barn Bridge. The post-tensioned concrete bridge, built in the 1960s, plays an important role carrying the Manchester Metrolink light rail system over the M60 and the A665 Bury to Prestwich road in northwest Manchester.

Mott MacDonald’s role over the next five years will involve overseeing all inspection and maintenance of the bridge in conjunction with Stagecoach, the Metrolink operator. The project team will carry out the first comprehensive detailed structural assessment of Besses O’ Th’ Barn Bridge and introduce a structural health monitoring system to obtain information on the post-tensioning tendons and their current condition.

In addition, the project team will create a modern digital database management system for the bridge’s records. The information gathered will be used to define maintenance intervention criteria.

Brian Duguid, Mott MacDonald’s project manager said, "We are delighted to be selected by GMPTE for this assignment, which has many interesting and challenging aspects. The bridge’s unusual "spine beam" is quite rare in the UK, and it has a history of degradation including alkali-aggregate reaction*, which requires careful monitoring. Our combination of bridge and specialist materials expertise were crucial aspects to our appointment."

He continued, "As the bridge crosses not only the busy M60 and the local A665, part of our remit is to help ensure that the bridge remains functional and safe, as any disruption to service would have major consequences for transport in the area."

Philip Purdy, GMPTE’s Metrolink Director, added: "The Besses o’ th’ Barn bridge is now around 40 years old as it was used to carry trains before Metrolink opened in 1992. It’s important that it’s well maintained, especially as trams travel over it up to 300 times every day. I’m pleased we’ve been able to appoint Mott MacDonald to maintain the bridge."

End

Notes to editors

1. Besses O’ Th’ Barn Bridge is a 190m long post-tensioned concrete bridge built at the end of the 1960s. 2. Mott MacDonald has carried out a similar role for GMPTE on this bridge for approximately the last 15 years and this reappointment acknowledges the company’s bridge and specialist leading-edge materials expertise. 3. * In most concrete, aggregates are more or less chemically inert. However, some aggregates react with the alkali hydroxides in concrete, causing expansion and cracking over a period of many years. This alkali-aggregate reaction has two forms—alkali-silica reaction (ASR) and alkali-carbonate reaction (ACR).
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