The initial scope of major works to refurbish the reinforced concrete bridge carrying the slip road off the M8 eastbound at Junction 3, Livingston, is progressing well with works on the slip road due to be completed in July as planned.
The removal of the parapet and significant concrete repairs to the bridge deck edge beams were undertaken from a complex cantilevered scaffold system sitting on the bridge deck. With that work complete, the scaffold is now being removed. To finish removing the scaffold the A899 below the bridge will be closed overnight for the safety of road users.
The northbound A899 will be closed overnight on Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 June and the southbound A899 to be closed overnight on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 June. Diversion routes can be found on the project website.
Once the scaffolding is removed, the new parapet can be installed and then waterproofing of the concrete bridge deck will be undertaken. It is anticipated that the slip road, which has been closed since February, will be reopened to traffic later in July 2023.
Chris Tracey, BEAR Scotland South East Unit Bridges Manager, said: “The works on top of the bridge have gone well. It is good news that we are on track to reopen the slip road in July. We have maximised works undertaken to reduce the likelihood of future slip road closures being required while the slip road has been closed. This includes refurbishing a second bridge that carries the slip road over the M8 motorway and also replacing lighting columns along the route.”
Bearing replacement required
A further phase of works to replace bridge bearings below deck level means that works adjacent to the A899 will continue until 2024. It was decided to undertake the bearing replacement as an extension to the initial project scope to enhance the long-term resilience of the bridge.
The bridge bearings have been in place since the bridge was built over 50 years ago and should allow the bridge to expand and contract with temperature changes.
The A899 will need to be restricted to a single lane of traffic in both directions between the Dechmont and Livingston East roundabouts to protect the temporary props and jacks that will support the bridge after the existing bearings are removed and until the new bearings are in place.
Initial estimates indicate that these restrictions will be in place until February 2024 at the latest.
Chris Tracey explains: “We appreciate that extending the refurbishment programme to include bearing replacement works extends the duration of lane restrictions on the A899 beyond what was originally anticipated. However, new bearings being installed now means that the bridge can work effectively for years to come. This should reduce the need for future refurbishment on this structure. It makes sense to get the work done while we’re already on site rather than coming back at a later stage. We thank road users for their ongoing patience while these essential improvements are delivered.”
Until the slip road reopens, clearly signed diversion routes remain in place to maintain access to Livingston from the M8 at all times, underlining that it is open for business. This reflects the town’s popularity as a commuter town between Edinburgh and Glasgow and its reputation as a prime shopping destination. There have been no significant traffic issues to date.
Up-to-date project information is available on the BEAR Scotland website.
BEAR Scotland is leading this project as part of its responsibility for the South East Trunk Road Network on behalf of Transport Scotland. Specialist contractor Freyssinet is responsible for the delivery of key elements of the project, including the concrete refurbishment, bearing replacement and the cathodic protection.
How to get the latest travel and traffic information
For full information on roadworks on trunk roads in the north-west and south-east of Scotland, visit the Bear Scotland website.
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