Lagan Gateway Bridge, Stranmillis

Civil engineering specialists, Charles Brand, successfully delivered the £5.2M Lagan Gateway project to provide a new pedestrian, cycle bridge and refurbishment of the weir and navigation lock on the river Lagan at Stranmillis...

The 70m wide, three-span bridge connects the Lagan Towpath and Annadale Embankment in South Belfast. With extensive use of stainless steel and decorative elements, this bridge is an impressive marriage of civil engineering and aesthetic requirements. The significant achievement was recognised at the CEF Awards 2021, when Charles Brand won the Social/Community Project Over £1m Category for their efforts.

However, the project posed a number of challenges for Charles Brand to overcome, as Paddy Harney, Project Director, explained, “We have completed road schemes which have included footbridges throughout Ireland and GB, but the Lagan Gateway bridge was our first project where the aesthetics were as important as its functional capabilities.
“The extensive use of stainless steel – including the decorative rings – posed technical challenges. It’s an expensive material and difficult to work with in combination with other materials. All welding was carried out in a controlled factory environment, to prevent contamination, with only the final assembly done on site prior to lifting into place using a 450-tonne crane.

“We had restricted access on the Annadale side of the Lagan and a very busy residential area on the Stranmillis side so, to facilitate the abnormally long load, we constructed a new haul road on the Annadale side. We recycled the excess haul road material to help construct an additional public access providing Belfast City Council with an excellent alternative access for the next phase of the project.”

As with so any projects carried out over the past two years, Covid-19 had a major impact, but it could have been far worse if local suppliers hadn’t stepped up to deliver last minute. “We did not stop work during the pandemic. Our sheet piling supplier in ROI was forced to shut down during lockdown. Our reinforced concrete redesign of the new Lock enabled us to source all material from our local suppliers and consequently saved the project from a six-month delay.”

Ground conditions were also unexpectedly challenging and required redesign with longer piles and additional anchors. Charles Brand’s target was to remove as few trees as possible. A number of mature trees that had originally been identified for removal were instead saved by anchoring them back to minipiles, which supported them during the adjacent bridge abutment construction.

River Control

The refurbishment of the existing weir flood control and navigation lock has provided the Rivers Agency with a vital upgrade for control of the level of the River Lagan. “This was a major river works project requiring us to divert the River Lagan to carry out the programme. We stripped out the existing, manually operated floodgates situated in the three bays of the weir. These were replaced with remote controlled gates, which can provide a faster response to changes in river level.”

Following on from the exemplary work carried out on the weir refurbishment for DfI Rivers, the Charles Brand team is delighted to have been awarded the £17m Belfast Tidal Flood Alleviation also for DfI Rivers, which runs from Stranmillis to the Belfast Harbour. Commenting on the completed works, Paddy said, “Obviously, this was a very challenging project for all the reasons mentioned, but it has been extremely
satisfying. We had a great relationship with the client and consultants and met for regular round table meetings to come up with innovative solutions
to all the problems encountered along the way.

“It has been a privilege to work on such an important scheme to control the level of the river and to help protect the people of Belfast from potential flooding.”

Project team:
Client: Belfast City Council
Main Contractor: Charles Brand
Project Manager: AECOM
Designer: McAdam
Project Director: Paddy Harney
Steel Fabricator: Woodburn Engineering Ltd

Charles Brand, Rosemount House, 21 – 23 Sydenham Road, Belfast, BT3 9HA
T: +44 (0)28 9045 5531

McAdam’s Lagan Gateway bridge design brings a community together… 

McAdam, was the civil and structural designer for the Lagan Gateway bridge and Stranmillis navigation lock restoration project. The 83m lenticular truss bridge reaches across three spans – two main spans and four piers built on piled foundations. The structure comprises concrete piers with metal deck, a stainless steel parapet with tension wire mesh and a cambered non-slip steel deck. The eye catching design features stainless steel ‘hoops’ with a bolted assembly to avoid welding discoloration stains.

McAdam also undertook the design of the pathways and drainage in and around the bridge and lock. Stephen Harding, Director for McAdam talked about the challenges that McAdam had to overcome in the design stages.

“There was a significant level difference between the higher Annadale side and the lower Stranmillis side and also contaminated ground on the Annadale needed to allow sufficient headroom for boats to navigate under the bridge and through the locks.”

The navigation lock was a contractor design element, but McAdam was involved in the specification and the initial concept design. Commenting on the completed Lagan Gateway cycle and pedestrian bridge project, he added, “It’s fabulous for McAdam to be involved in the design of this new eye-catching landmark within our city. At McAdam, our ethos is based upon enhancing local communities and we certainly hope this bridge delivers on that for the people of South Belfast including many of our own staff who work and live close to it.

Stephen concluded, “We are delighted to have contributed to this project and are very happy with how the local community has received it.”

T: +44 (0)28 9040 2000

RTU’s ready made concrete and Exposa® decorative enhance stunning new public green space… 

RTU fulfilled the Concrete and Exposa® Decorative Concrete delivery to the £5.2million Lagan Gateway, continuing to work throughout the height of the Covid pandemic to help get the project over the line. With strict government guidelines in place, RTU ensured all operations were undertaken according to the compliance requirements and to its own stringent safety measures.

The project’s completion was especially timely considering how Covid has amplified everyone’s appreciation of spending time outdoors and its ability to improve our overall health and wellbeing.
This project is a superb example of a green infrastructure that ensures public green spaces are easily accessible, while biodiversity is maintained and protected.

Using RTU ready-mixed concrete meant the contractor could order specific
quantities on demand, saving space, time and budget by mixing on site. Exposa® Decorative Concrete contributes to an outdoor experience that is safe and durable and achieves an aesthetic in keeping with the natural richness of the surroundings.

Commenting, Thomas McIlroy Sales and Marketing Manager said, “As an
experienced building product manufacturer, we know that the best construction projects are the ones that bring people together in a shared and positive environment. The Lagan Gateway links the Lagan Towpath
and Annadale Embankment and fulfils a vital objective to get green space close to people and provide opportunities for an active outdoor lifestyle.

“As well as a new navigation lock adjacent to the River Lagan, there is a stunning bridge that accommodates walking, cycling and commuting in this beautiful area of South Belfast.”

T: +44 (0)28 9085 1441

Piling contractor, Trench Control Ltd, carried out the steel sheet piling installation for the Lagan Gateway bridge, weir and navigation lock renovation project… 

The scope of works included: Installation of AZ Sheet piles using Trench Control’s ABI Leader Rig, preparation of piles off site including painting of piles. Trench Control also designed, supplied and installed a temporary retaining system to allow construction of the lock.

Commenting on the completed project, Geoffrey Burns, Sales Representative for Trench Control Ltd said, “There were many challenges but with the brilliant team we have, and the support from Charles Brand, it was a fantastic project to be part of.”

Since its foundation in 1980, Trench Control has been a leader in the field of excavation support equipment. Since that time it has expanded its range of products and services greatly, to offer a comprehensive package of ground support solutions to the construction industry.
Trench Control designs and supplies temporary and permanent shoring equipment for civil engineering excavations. The in-house design service, provided by chartered civil engineers, offers clients practical and cost-effective solutions. Clients are supported throughout the planning, design and installation phases of a project.

Trench Control’s in-house fabrication facility provides the flexibility to produce the most cost-effective solutions. Its on-site personnel will ensure your piling requirements are met to programme and budget. Speak to the team at Trench Control to find out how they can provide the excavation solutions for your next project.

Trench Control services:
• Ground support hire equipment – with onsite mechanical fitters
• Sheet piling – with 1,000 tonnes of steel in stock
• Pile breaking – hire

T: +44 (0)28 9267 8777

Specialist fencing contractors, Y&S Fencing Ltd, supplied and installed high security fencing, stock fencing and five security gates for the main contractor Charles Brand at the Lagan Gateway site.

In total, the installation included 180 metres of 1.8m-high security fencing, galvanised and powder-coated black; approximately 850 metres of stock fencing sheep wire on wooden posts driven into the ground and five bespoke security gates.

The installation was completed in six weeks by a four-man team. Y&S Fencing Ltd has been established since 1994 and has almost 30 years’ experience in all types of agricultural, domestic and commercial fencing, gates, D rail and Kee Klamp hand rail.

Commenting on the completed job, Director Trevor Somerville praised the smooth running of the programme by Charles Brand. “The site was very well organised and work progressed in a very straightforward manner. It was a pleasure to work with them.”

Trevor: +44 (0)28 9756 3364 / +44 (0)780 1096 363

Specialist contractor, Hamilton Bogie, The Mini Piling Company, was called on by the main contractor, Charles Brand to deliver mini-piling to the bridge
abutments and walkways for the Lagan Gateway bridge project.
The site presented a number of challenges such as close proximity to neighbouring properties and the management of potential noise and vibration issues.

Hamilton Bogie provided two different solutions to deal with difficult access to the bridge abutments while also achieving the lateral load requirements. From their Belfast office, Hamilton Bogie, The Mini Piling Company offers a proactive approach to clients, engineers and main contractors. Its comprehensive piling experience enables the firm to advise on the most economic solutions for all mini piling and underpinning problems.

Commenting on the Lagan Gateway project, Director Graeme Taylor said it
was a “great project to be involved in” and praised Charles Brand’s management of the site and programme.

T: +44 (0)28 9332 9444