Tamar Bridge

The Background

Built in the early 60s, the Tamar Bridge is a major crossing over the River Tamar, joining Saltash, Cornwall and Plymouth, Devon together by a 335m road running adjacent to the Royal Albert Bridge.

Throughout its time serving as a main cross-county road, Tamar Bridge has achieved multiple records; the bridge was the world’s first suspension bridge to be widened using cantilevers, and the world’s first suspension bridge to be widened and strengthened while remaining open to traffic. The project to widen the bridge also won the British Construction Industry Civil Engineering Award for 2002, the Historic Structures category (30 years or older) of the Institution of Civil Engineers Awards 2002.

With over 40,000 crossings daily, the bridge requires consistent monitoring, inspecting and general maintenance with engineers available in case there are any issues or breakdowns with the two main gantries, two cantilever gantries and two tower hoists.

The Project

After a successful tender, Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee awarded the routine inspection and maintenance contract to WH Scott & Son. With the relationship starting immediately, WHS developed a service package to inspect and maintain the bridge on a trimonthly basis, with the WHS South West engineering team on hand for any breakdowns or general issues.

We also designed and developed an application to assist in managing the maintenance of the gantries. The app produces a detailed and easy-to-follow checklist which the engineers complete using mobile-enabled tablets, giving the client instant access to both maintenance and examination reports.

Alongside the maintenance contract, the team complete non-destructive testing on various parts of the bridge to ensure there are no structural issues. Acting as Principal Contractor whilst undergoing maintenance, we apply and manage all health and safety controls whilst working on the bridge – to this date, there is a clean sheet of no accidents and no time lost.