Project profile: Westfield Viaduct

Our major renovation work has restored one of Scotland’s oldest viaducts to its former glory. The £2 million programme included masonry repairs, waterproofing and the installation of bat roosts.

Project profile: Westfield Viaduct

Location: West Lothian and Falkirk, Scotland

Project managed by: National Highways on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT)

Status: Not open to the public/disused

About the structure

The former Railway viaduct was built between 1854 and 1855 as an extension of the Monkland Railway, consisting of 16 arches spanning land and water. It later became part of the North British Railway - used mainly to transport minerals and coal to market over the River Avon. The line closed in 1964.  

Standing at 60 feet the viaduct remains a prominent feature in the landscape.

What is the project?

Years of exposure to wind and rain left the viaduct in need of care and attention.   

Engineers worked closely with our contractor Balfour Beatty to develop a plan to strengthen and waterproof the arches of the viaduct.  

Work began in 2021, however, delays due to the Covid pandemic resulted in us taking the opportunity to carry out more extensive repairs.

What work needed to be done?

A huge amount of work was needed to all the viaduct’s spans - this included the removal of weathered stone – damaged by water and time – we colour matched to the original unweathered material. 

Ecology surveys completed ahead of main works highlighted the structure was being used as a home for bats. Otters were also found to be using the river below. We’re committed to ensuring wildlife isn’t impacted by our work, so we completed additional surveys to better understand how animals were using the area as a habitat. Licenced ecologists directed abseilers to check dozens of gaps between the masonry of the structure itself – looking for signs of bat use. We also used drones to reduce the amount of time abseilers spent on the structure – ensuring the safety of both our workforce and bats. 

Temporary bat boxes, tubes and bricks were installed where work wasn’t taking place for bats to use during hibernation seasons, so repair work to continue. These were then built into the structure itself as permanent roosts.  

Other work included widespread vegetation clearance along the north and south, repairs to the parapet spanning the length of deck. New cast iron pattress plates, cast to match the originals, were also installed to replace damaged ones. 

What stage is it at?

Work finished in December 2022.

Image gallery

Use the arrows to browse through the image gallery of Westfield Viaduct.

1 / 8
Aerial photo of west elevation on completion of the works, February 2023
2 / 8
West elevation – span 8 prior to repair, November 2021
3 / 8
West elevation, span 9 prior to repair, November 2021
4 / 8
Shuttering to repair concrete haunches on the viaduct deck, August 2021
5 / 8
Access scaffold to span 9 to complete repairs to the voussoirs in the east elevation, October 2021
6 / 8
Cradle access to span 6, November 2021
7 / 8
Repairs to voussoir and pattress completed, February 2023.
8 / 8
Aerial photo of west elevation on completion of the works, February 2023