White City Development

You have assembled the new bridge alongside the new one. Now it must be moved, on Teflon pads, 25 metres into the slot over a railway line. All this to be completed over a long weekend, without closing the tube lines running beneath!

This is exactly what happened between 29th July and 1st August 2005 at the viaduct carrying the Hammersmith & City Line over Wood Lane in West London.

The biggest in-town shopping centre in Europe, with over 200 retails outlets, is being developed at White City by Westfield Shopping Towns Ltd with Multiplex as principle contractor. It is being built over 16 Central Line sidings which are being re-sited underground and the bridge was needed to provide a feeder line.

A team led by Multiplex Manager John Bradly, Costain’s Paul Snelson and Metronet’s Graham Freeston, undertook the major engineering and logistical task in just four days. Not surprisingly, during the operation it was necessary to close the Hammersmith & City Line, which uses the bridge, as well as a stretch of Wood Lane but Central Line trains continued running beneath, protected from falling masonry by specially constructed crash decks.

At midnight on 29th July the team set about removing the old rails and ballast from the bridge. Later that night they lifted heavy machinery on the bridge and started demolishing the old viaduct and arch. Demolition took nearly two days, including cutting the old steelwork. On 31st July the new bridge was manouvered into place, the rails re laid, ballast replaced and signals reconnected.

Finally everything was tested and inspected, the site cleared and the bridge and the road reopened allowing London Underground to resume normal operation precisely on 2nd August.

Natural Cement Distribution Ltd’s SHOTCRETE was used to stabilise the face of the viaduct after the demolition and because of its flow characteristics and high early strength GROUT 105 was used to lock the bridge into the cross head beams.

Phil Todd, Multiplex Rail Director said: “The success of the project depended on every detail being perfectly planned, and the management team were delighted with the outcome. We want to thank everyone who has worked on the viaduct and bridge-slide operation, both over the weekend and during the months of operation.”