New bridge set to provide permanent structure to link islands

Turf cutting marked a significant milestone in the provision of a replacement crossing

MABEY Bridge will design and install a 99-metre span bridge to link the islands of Great Bernera and Lewis in the Western Isles.

The replacement crossing move follows a 7.5 tonne weight restriction being placed on the Bernera Bridge in August 2020.

The original Bernera Bridge was built in 1953 and is believed to be the first pre-stressed concrete road bridge in the UK.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has ordered Mabey Bridge’s single-span Delta bridge to be installed on a permanent basis. It will provide access to vehicles up to 44 tonnes across a width of 4.2 metres, including a 1.05 metre pedestrian walkway.

Mabey explained that the modular steel bridge is available in clear spans up to 100 metres, which alleviates the need for intermediate piers. 

The replacement steel trussed bridge structure will sit on concrete abutments which are part of the civil engineering works being undertaken by Breedon Hebrides.

Construction work on the revised approaches and abutments will precede the delivery of the bridge elements, which will be assembled on site and ‘pushed’ from the south abutment on the Bernera mainland to the north abutment on the Island of Bernera.

Michael Treacy, CEO Mabey Bridge, said, “We’re delighted to be supplying the first Delta bridge to Scotland, and proud to have been selected to take part in this important project to restore a vital crossing to the benefit of the residents of Great Bernera. The Delta is unique in that it offers the longest modular steel span available in the market, making it an ideal high-quality solution for a wide range of applications where speed of installation is crucial.”

The bridge is expected to be completed in summer 2021.