Network Rail completes £1m Ayr viaduct refurbishment

Engineers have completed work on the £1 million programme of refurbishment on the Ayr Viaduct to coincide with the 140th anniversary of the current bridge’s construction in 1878.

The work on the four-span, 110-metre-long grade C listed structure which crosses the River Ayr was needed to address issues with both the masonry and the metal work on the walkway and to stop any further deterioration of the bridge.

Vegetation was cleared from the structure and spot repairs were made in the sandstone masonry at over 70 points on the bridge. The metal work on the pedestrian walkway was repaired and strengthened where required and the whole floor of the walkway completely replaced.  The bridge was then cleaned and repainted in a project which has lasted six months.

To deliver the work safely, a bespoke scaffold system was put in place which was then ’encapsulated’ in special plastic sheeting to provide the right working environment in the exposed location as well as to stop any contaminants from leaking into the air and river below. It moved span by span across the structure as work progressed.

The steelwork on the bridge was painted to match the original colours of the Victorian structure and to maintain consistency with nearby rail bridges using a three coat system which protects the existing and new metal work from corrosion and provides a high quality aesthetic finish. The refurbishment of the bridge ensures that the structure will not need any maintenance for more than a decade.

As well as the logistical challenges of working at height above a river, the Network Rail team with specialist contractor Taziker Industrial also had to work within the harsh realities of the prolonged winter weather which were not helpful to the type of work being delivered.

Matthew Spence, route delivery director for Network Rail said: “We have now completed work to repair and refurbish Ayr Viaduct ahead of the busy tourist season in the town and to coincide with the 140th anniversary of the bridge’s construction.

“The refurbished bridge is at an important entry point to the town of Ayr and we are confident that it now presents a great first impression for those visiting the town or for people who use the railway on a daily basis.

“We take seriously our responsibility to maintain and preserve these historic structures, not just for the safe and efficient operation of the railway, but also how they look in their setting for those travelling on the railway or visitors to the area enjoying the views.

“Working on these Victorian structures gives you great respect for those who built them more than a century ago and we hope that our work on their bridge does justice to the legacy that we have been left by the Victorian railway pioneers.”

The work, which was delivered without any disruption to train services to the town, was completed in mid-May.