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Great Wharf Road Bridge – Canary Wharf London

To give traffic new access to Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands, a new bridge has been installed, the Great Wharf Road Bridge (GWRB). This bridge crosses the North Dock and forms part of the northern link to the center of Canary Wharf. Hollandia UK carried out the Site Management and Site Construction of this bridge for Hollandia Infra. The fabricated bridge sections were shipped directly from the Netherlands to the UK. On site, the bridge sections were unloaded and assembled with the help of beach jacking systems erected on the front construction site. In 2012 the Great Wharf Road Bridge (GWRB) was demolished to make way for the new construction of the Underground station for the CrossRail project and the GWRB was replaced with a shorter version of the New Upper Bank Street Lifting Bridge.


Unusual opening bridge

The construction is a movable bridge with a span of 68 meters, which opens like a bascule bridge. However, this bridge does not have an unlimited headroom, the bridge only lifts 18 meters at the tip, which is lifted directly by a huge hydraulic ram. Usually with a bascule bridge, lifting equipment is placed at the pivot point and a significant counterweight is required. At the GWRB, the span is too large for this type of bascule bridge, and there is no space for the counterweights.

Orthotropic deck construction

The bridge consists of two main girders with an orthotropic deck construction in between. The main girders are constructed as a “Vierendeel truss” with a curved upper cord, which is trapezoidal in section, narrowing and deeper towards the top of the arch. The top string of the truss is thick section to get stiffness, while to minimize weight, the thickness of the deck’s steel plate has been kept at a slim 12mm. The telescopic ram exerts a thrust of 650 tons and will reach full extension up to 18 meters. At that position there is a sailing area of ​​15 by 15 meters.

Manufacture & installation

The bridge was made in four parts at the yard at Hollandia in Krimpen aan den IJssel; 2 end parts and 2 middle parts. These sections were brought to the site on pontoon in 3 shipments. The end sections are placed and secured on the abutments. Then the joined center section has been positioned and installed by means of beach jacks. Finally, the bridge sections were joined, blasted and painted.