Bearing replacements for Forth Road Bridge approach viaducts

Barry Colford, Manuela Chiarello, Chris R. Hendy, Homayoon Sadeghi Pouya, Jessica Sandberg, Paul Smout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The existing Forth Road Bridge spans the Firth of Forth in Scotland. The main suspension bridge, with central span of 1006 m, has two multi-span approach viaducts leading up to the main crossing. The deck of the approach viaducts
comprises a pair of longitudinal steel box girders supporting a series of transversely spanning steel girders, both acting compositely with a reinforced concrete deck. The steel girders of the approach viaducts are supported on steel
roller and rocker bearings on concrete portal piers which vary in height between 11 m and 40 m. An initial study of the bearings identified that the rollers had locked up due to corrosion and distortion, and the concrete beneath the
bearings and elsewhere on the pier tops had deteriorated due to chloride contamination. Assessment showed that structural deficiencies in the pier were exacerbated by both the concrete deterioration and change in articulation.
These factors led to the decision to replace all the bearings on the viaducts. This paper outlines the design of the strengthening and modifications to the bridge to facilitate bearing replacement, together with a detailed description
of the design of the temporary works needed to maintain the bridge’s articulation during jacking.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPaper 1100051
Pages (from-to)170-182
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Bridge Engineering
Issue numberBE3
Early online date22 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

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