HUGE sections of pre-fabricated bridge – each weighing over 26 tonnes – were lifted into place by crane over the River Findhorn this week.
The structure, which provides a pedestrian link for the community of Broom of Moy to Forres, forms a major part of the Forres (River Findhorn and Pilmuir) flood alleviation scheme, which is due for completion in the Spring of 2015.
Under the £45 million project, sections of the flood water path have been widened, resulting in the need for the existing Bailey Bridge to be extended.
To avoid disruption to residents, the three new spans – with a combined length of 270 ft – were fabricated off site before being transported to Moray to be hoisted into place.
They arrived on Tuesday night, with three days set aside for the work to take place. However, the lifting process went so smoothly that all three spans were slotted into place by 4pm on Wednesday, with the final section taking just over an hour to be hoisted from its transporter and onto the awaiting structure.
The bridge will remain closed for a further four to five weeks while sections to join the individual walkways are installed and access ramps and paths completed.
The Forres (River Findhorn and Pilmuir) scheme is the last of five major flood alleviation projects to be funded by the Moray Council and Scottish Government, with delivery by Moray Flood Alleviation. The council is working with Royal HaskoningDHV, EC Harris and Morrison Construction to deliver the project.
When complete, the scheme will protect nearly 1,000 homes and businesses from flooding.
The extension of the Broom of Moy Bridge was one of the key elements of the works, along with the construction of new flood embankments and the re-working of old river channels. The A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road is also being raised to the west of Forres as part of the alleviation works, with the new section due to be opened next Spring.