The uniquely-designed bridge, which is 72m long, six metres high and weighs 1,200 tonnes, work started at 2am on Saturday morning and the road was re-opened to traffic by 5am Tuesday. The complicated engineering operation saw the bridge travel an average of 7mm per second using specialist machinery before being lowered into place, creating a new landmark.
Martin Jurkowski, Network Rail’s project director leading the London Bridge redevelopment, said: “The new Borough Viaduct will double the number of tracks coming out of the western end of London Bridge station, unlocking a major bottleneck and allowing us to provide two dedicated tracks for Thameslink services. It is a hugely important milestone in our plans to deliver modern stations, more trains and better journeys to and through the heart of London.”
“A project of this scale taking place in such a heavily built-up area required outstanding planning and innovation. Our solution was to build the new bridge on top of the new viaduct, which offered best value for money and minimal disruption for passengers, road users and the community.“
The bridge is part of the 507m-long Borough Viaduct which runs above the highly-built up Borough Market area. Finding space for new rail infrastructure in such a densely built up urban area has been a challenge, in some places it’s not more than 16cm away from existing buildings. The viaduct is nestled in-between listed buildings, its foundations are strategically located to avoid London Underground tunnels and the popular Borough Market that has been partly relocated during the works.
Mr Jurkowski added: “With the new bridge becoming a significant new local landmark we wanted to involve the community in its construction. We hosted hundreds of people over the weekend onboard a Routemaster bus which was positioned to provide a great view of the completion of this important milestone for the Thameslink Programme.”
With the bridge now in place, the final part of the installation will be completed as planned over the weekend of Saturday 7 - Sunday 8 May, during which time Borough High Street will be closed again. The same diversion routes will apply.