Project profile: Fergushill Bridge
What started as minor work eventually became the complete reconstruction of the bridge’s spandrel and east parapet.
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Location: Fergushill, near Kilmarnock
Contractor: Balfour Beatty
Status: Open to the public
Once part of the Dalry to Kilmarnock branch line, which formed part of The Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway (GPK&AR). Used primarily to transport heavy goods like coal and other mineral extracted in the west of Scotland, it was also used by passenger services. Though well used, the extractive industries that supported the railways underwent huge transformation and many of the lines could no longer be sustained by passenger traffic.
Dalry to Kilmarnock closed to local passenger trains on 18 April 1966, with night sleeper trains continuing to use the line, offering a direct route from Paisley to London service. The line closed completely on 23 October 1973.
About the structure
Constructed in stone, the bridge’s deck is no longer used by trains but offers an important connection for the local farmer and continues to span the B751, which forms a popular route for cyclists and equestrians.
What is the project?
Our work is delivered following examinations by our skilled engineers; a recent site visit identified the need for some brick repairs at the bridge. Once on site our contractors got to work removing stones and it became clear that most of the voussoir stones were beyond repair. The spandrel wall carried by the arch was also in a poor condition.
The decision was taken to rebuild the spandrel from the arch upwards, as well as provide a secure anchorage for the voussoir repairs. To achieve this, we also took down and rebuilt the east parapet, and took the opportunity to remove vegetation, repoint and rest the coping stones from the wing walls.
Read our blog about what it's like being an engineer for the estate from Colin McNicol.
(We rebuilt the arch using a stone that’s in keeping with the existing materials)
Repairs were delivered as quickly as possible so the road beneath the bridge could be reopened to minimise disruption to our customers.
What stage is it at?
Work was completed in seven weeks, and we’re pleased that all our customers can continue using the bridge - offering a reminder of its former life.
(Bridge once repairs were completed)