In an update provided during a meeting on the troubled Nuneham Viaduct rail bridge in Oxfordshire, Network Rail’s capital delivery director, Stuart Calvert, announced that the structure is scheduled to reopen by June 10, with the completion of the remaining stabilisation work. The bridge spans the River Thames between Culham and Radley. It has been closed to all rail traffic due to concerns about its sinking.
Network Rail acknowledged the progress made on the piling for the new abutment, which plays a crucial role in supporting the structure. The company also apologised to all individuals affected by the ongoing work.
According to the update shared by Network Rail on May 23, significant advancements have been made in the piling process for the new abutment. To carry out this work, a level area was created to accommodate the new piling rigs. The abutment, responsible for supporting the structure, is of paramount importance. It ensures stability against external forces and ground conditions.
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Calvert shed light on the challenges encountered with the previous support. He explained that the ground beneath it was comparable to porridge, visibly shifting below the abutment. Furthermore, the original piles from the 1865 timber structure were discovered during the project. The final pile for the new abutment is about to be installed. It will be followed by the placement of caps on the steel poles. Later, there will be the construction of a new cill beam to reinforce the support for the bridge.
However, the work doesn’t conclude with the abutment. Additional piles will be inserted to prevent any movement of the embankment material away from the railway. This undertaking is no small feat, involving approximately 600 truckloads of material to fill the area. Network Rail expressed gratitude for the unwavering support from the local community throughout this massive operation, which necessitated the mobilisation of plant movements and other resources.
Network Rail acknowledged the inconvenience caused by the piling noise and assured residents that it would continue for a short duration. They expressed their gratitude for the community’s patience during this essential activity.
Network Rail is committed to restoring services as swiftly as possible, with the target date for reopening set for June 10. Network Rail remains focused on reinstating normal rail operations through the Nuneham Viaduct rail bridge. The work will help minimise further disruption to commuters and the local community.