Video: New rail bridge signals next step in Ravenscraig regeneration

Video: New rail bridge signals next step in Ravenscraig regeneration

One of the largest concrete bridge lifts in Europe has been completed, marking a milestone in the regeneration of the former steelworks site at Ravenscraig.

The rail bridge, delivered through a £16.9 million agreement between North Lanarkshire Council and Network Rail, allows a new dual carriageway to be constructed under the railway line (West Coast main line), with pedestrian and cycle paths to be built between Motherwell and Ravenscraig.

The 5,000-tonne bridge and support structures were moved into position earlier this month by Network Rail and Story Contracting using remote-controlled transporters, in what is believed to be the biggest concrete bridge moves of its kind in Europe.

Plans for the new road will now move forward with advance roadworks carried out during the summer, a contractor to be appointed in the autumn, and construction starting on site in early 2024.

The road is part of the council’s £127.2m Ravenscraig Access Infrastructure (RAI) project, supported by £61.9m of funding from the UK and Scottish governments through Glasgow City Region City Deal. The RAI project will improve connections north to the M8 and south to Motherwell and the M74.

“Our ambitious plans for Ravenscraig, one of Europe’s largest brownfield regeneration sites, will transform the area and bring significant investment and jobs to the North Lanarkshire economy,” said Councillor Paul Kelly, depute leader of North Lanarkshire Council.

“The rail bridge was a key element in the Ravenscraig Access Infrastructure project and enables us now to construct the road and active travel links which will connect Motherwell and Ravenscraig and improve the wider road network both north and south.

“The road is the catalyst for the development of housing, leisure and retail facilities, business and industry at this prime location at the heart of Scotland.”

Jeremy Spence, Network Rail programme manager, said: “I want to congratulate all involved in the delivery of this major milestone. Reaching this critical phase in the programme took many months of meticulous planning and preparatory work, followed by a huge undertaking in constructing the actual bridge.

“By working collaboratively with Story Contracting and North Lanarkshire Council, we have all played our part to ensure the necessary pieces were in place to allow the seamless delivery of the works, especially over the nine day period of continuous working to lift the bridge into place.

“It is a credit to everyone involved that they invested in the bigger picture from the outset - as we all understood the significance the bridge will bring to the wider community in helping to create more opportunities across the area.”

Wellbeing economy secretary Neil Gray said: “The former Ravenscraig steelworks is a key part of Scotland’s industrial heritage and I welcome this landmark moment.

“Redevelopment of this large derelict site has the potential to attract significant investment and sustainable jobs to North Lanarkshire, supporting longer-term regeneration and economic benefits. The creation of pedestrian and cycle paths between Motherwell and Ravenscraig will encourage active travel and improve access.

“This is an important demonstration of the benefit of regional partnership working and will help transform the North Lanarkshire economy.”

John MacArthur, managing director, Story Contracting (Scotland), said: “The successful delivery of Europe’s largest concrete structure lift at Ravenscraig is a significant milestone for Story Contracting and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team and our supply chain partners.

“This project showcases our commitment to excellence and our ability to collaborate as Scotland’s Railway to deliver high-quality solutions. I am extremely proud of everyone involved in bringing this ambitious project to life.”

Russell Wilkie, director of Ravenscraig Ltd, added: “We’re grateful for the continued support from Glasgow City Region City Deal and North Lanarkshire Council in delivering the first phase of works of the Ravenscraig Access Infrastructure project which unlocks another key stage of the regeneration of Ravenscraig.

“We have two-thirds of Scotland’s population within 90 minutes drive of the site, combined with its excellent public and active travel infrastructure, we are confident Ravenscraig is solidifying its position as the perfect place for people and businesses to locate in North Lanarkshire and the Central Belt.”

Union connectivity minister Richard Holden added: “In yet another example of world-class engineering in the UK, it is great to see one of the largest concrete bridges in Europe built in the heart of Scotland.

“The new bridge is just one part of our £524m funding deal for Glasgow to boost connectivity across Scotland and the whole of the UK, creating hundreds of high-skilled jobs as we continue to level up transport, create great jobs and grow the economy.”

The dual carriageway will run from a new signalised roundabout at Airbles Road/Windmillhill Street in Motherwell, under the rail bridge, to the Regional Sports Facility. It will then link with the next stage of the RAI to the north.

Ravenscraig Ltd received planning permission in 2019 for a masterplan including residential areas, education and community facilities, business and employment areas, open space including a town park, hotels, and a new town centre with retail, leisure, business and housing.

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