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Caulmert helps bridge the gap as part of Vale of York Services scheme

Vale of York Motorway Services Area Scheme

A North Wales-based engineering, environmental and planning consultancy has secured a multi-million-pound contract to provide structural and geotechnical expertise on the Vale of York Motorway Services Area (MSA) scheme. 

Caulmert, which has offices in St Asaph, Bangor, Altrincham, Nottingham, and Kent, is carrying out the innovative work as part of plans to build a 40-metre single-span bridge over the A1M motorway between York and Ripon, connecting the new services to both carriageways. 

Part of the complex design focuses on the bridge, which will have larger supporting foundations because of there being no intermediate pier support within the central reserve. 

To minimise long-term maintenance issues, the abutments have been designed as integral with the bridge deck i.e., without the traditional bearings or expansion joints as seen on most motorway bridges. Weathering steel has also been selected to achieve a 120-year design life with only nominal maintenance. 

Caulmert has also looked at various ways to enable the earth and abutments to behave as one entity as the bridge deck expands and contracts. This includes the reinforcement of the soil that the bank pads sit on, which involves galvanised steel strips attached to the inside face of precast concrete facing panels. 

The design will also utilise flexible piles within the reinforced soil sat on a concrete cap at approximately motorway level to provide another degree of support for the weight of the bridge. 

Work on the bridge at the Kirby Hill site near Boroughbridge as part of the Welcome Break development, overseen by consultants SCP, is scheduled to start in the summer of 2023 and will take approximately 12 months to complete. 

Caulmert project manager Peter Dawson, who will oversee a team of around eight, said: “We are thrilled to have been presented with the opportunity to showcase our expertise in what is a major development in North Yorkshire. 

“We are looking forward to undertaking the work and being able to strengthen our relationship with both SCP and Welcome Break.” 

While the bridge being square to the motorway helps simplify the build to a certain extent, other factors mean that Caulmert’s expertise will be called on. 

Peter added: “As you can see from the level of detail in the bridge build, to help provide the necessary support and stability, as well as prevent unwanted cost, is complex. 

“We have a highly skilled team which has come up with an innovative design to provide the Vale of York MSA with the standard of bridge required.” 

SCP will be constructing the roundabouts and slip roads as part of the dumbbell junction, which sees two small roundabouts provide access to the slip roads for all traffic at either side of the bridge.