Abseilers and drones inspect iconic 166 year old Britannia Bridge

Lyndsay Laird, Senior Media Manager
10 October 2016
Two men in safety equipment carrying out a bridge inspection.
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More than 40 civil engineers and asset management experts from leading consultancy firm, Amey, have proved they have a head for heights after completing a complex project to inspect Wales’ Britannia Bridge on behalf of Network Rail.

Working 130ft above the Menai Strait, Amey’s team of engineers, rope access inspectors, confined space and safety staff used their multitude of skills and expertise to inspect assets on the 166 year old bridge.

Connecting Anglesey to the mainland of Wales, this bridge carries thousands of motorists and hundreds of railway passengers every day so regular inspections and data collection is crucial to the maintenance of this iconic structure.

Robert Woods, Senior Project Manager, who led the inspection, explained: “While the physical inspection of the bridge was complete in less than seven days, we are now in the process of analysing over 150 detailed sketches and more than 10,000 photos in order to provide solutions and recommendations back to Network Rail.

In addition to hands-on inspection techniques, we also worked with AmeyVTOL, using a long range drone to assess hard to reach assets – without putting our engineers in harm’s way. This in itself has transformed the way in which we are able to inspect infrastructure of this nature and meant that we were able to keep the bridge open and totally eliminate any travel disruption.”

Gary Vickerman from Network Rail said: “Britannia Bridge, one of the most iconic structures in Wales, but also one of the most complex that Network Rail has to manage. The sheer size of the structure, Menai Strait, working at height and confined spaces all contribute to the difficulty of this examination. Amey’s innovation through the use of Unmanned Air Vehicles has resulted in a more efficient examination, its pleasing to see we are making use of modern technology. Close working between Amey & Network Rail facilitated the examination of internal voids previously unexamined due to access constraints. “

Amey delivers expert design and consultancy on a range of iconic and nationally significant structures to help asset owners and operators make better decisions about their infrastructure. From feasibility studies to detailed design and asset management of major multi-disciplinary and complex assets, including the Severn Tunnel which links the west of England to south Wales and the Forth Road and Rail Bridges in Scotland.

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