A team from Ainscough Crane Hire’s West London Depot, working with infrastructure specialists Osborne, has completed a major renovation of the Gade Valley viaduct on the M25 close to Kings Langley in Hertfordshire.
The programme of works included the installation of new expansion joints in the viaduct which allow the concrete road deck to expand and contract with changing temperatures without compromising the structure’s integrity.
The viaduct carries over 4.4 million vehicles every year and needed refurbishment as part of its ongoing maintenance. The programme of works, which began this summer, required the installation of 50,000 strengthening components including: 750 weld dressings, 2,500 strengthening plates, 48,000 bolts and 1,000 paint sections.
Working on a series of overnight shifts to minimise disruption, temporary cover plates were used to maintain traffic flow during daytime while the new expansion joins were lifted into position by the Ainscough team under contract lift conditions using a Liebherr LTM 1055-3 crane.
Dave Smith, one of Ainscough Crane Hire’s Contract Lift Managers and the Appointed Person for the lift said: “All lifts require planning but when your work means that of one of the busiest stretches of motorway in the land is out of operation until you’ve completed what you need to do, the responsibility to ensure an efficient delivery is all the more important.
“This efficiency is derived from the detailed planning we go through to ensure we are where we need to be, when we need to be and have the appropriate machinery and experienced personnel to deliver for our customer and for the wider public. Timing was so critical on this project that we undertook some additional test lift of the expansion joins so we could guarantee the timings we needed for the ‘live’ lift.
“This was a textbook example of how we work: we help deliver major changes in a safe and professional manner almost without people noticing what we’ve done.”
Prior to the final positioning lifts of the expansion joins, Ainscough had previously worked at the site lifting the joins into safe storage from road transport vehicles.
The Ainscough lift team included: Leslie Bailey – Operator, Darren Sharp – Operator, Phil Rogers – Lift Supervisor, Steve Willis – Hiab Driver and Lee Andrews – Onsite Fitter.