Balfour Beatty bests bridge

The myth of the continual repainting of the Forth Bridge could come to an end thanks to a contract awarded to Balfour Beatty by Network Rail.

Under the £74m contract, Balfour Beatty will complete the remaining restoration and painting of the Forth Bridge, which carries the East Coast Main Line north of Edinburgh, and the infamous painting work will come to an end in 2012.

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering has been undertaking the refurbishment works on the bridge for the past six years and its successful team will be responsible for delivering the new contract.

Balfour Beatty chief executive, Ian Tyler, said: ‘We are delighted to be continuing our operations for Network Rail on the Forth Bridge. Working on this iconic railway structure presents a number of unique challenges. However, together with Network Rail, we will be able to build on our long-term partnership to complete this challenging and fundamentally important work. By 2012, the bridge will be fully restored to its original condition.’

Iain Coucher, Network Rail’s chief executive, added: ‘The team currently working on the bridge has now completed some of the most difficult work and they have already overcome the most significant challenges that this project posed. For that reason, we have taken the decision to accelerate the work and increase the annual investment with the aim of generating long-term financial savings.’

The works on the Forth Bridge will be carried out in a series of phased operations at a number of locations at any one time. Complex access scaffold will be erected and the work areas screened from the environment before the existing layers of paint, applied over the last 120 years, are removed using an abrasive blasting technique. Steelwork requiring maintenance will then be repaired before the new paint is applied in three protective layers, to preserve the steelwork for years to come.