TPA Portable Roadways in action at the HS2 bridge lift



Portable roadways by TPA were used to move two HS2 bridges into place in Staffordshire.

Portable roadways by specialist access solutions provider TPA have helped the installation of two mammoth bridges for HS2, one of which was the UK’s heaviest bridge drive using SPMTs (Self Propelled Modular Transporters).

TPA’s heavy-duty aluminium panels were specified by Balfour Beatty VINCI for the two locations a mile apart – at Fulfen Wood on the West Coast Main Line (WCML), and Streethay on the South Staffordshire Line – for their speed of installation and value for money.

The Fulfen Wood project involved the lift of the record-breaking 6,200-tonne concrete portal over a nine-day blockade, although TPA had only a six-hour window to install a double layer of their 3m-wide panels over a 1,200m2 area using HIABs with chains and grabs.

The Fulfen Wood overbridge is a 56m long and 19m wide ‘intersection bridge structure’ that will allow Britain’s new high-speed railway to pass beneath the West Coast Main Line near Lichfield, on its route going north of Birmingham Curzon Street Station.

Over the two days before the move, Balfour Beatty VINCI removed the railway track and excavated over 15,000m3 of material to create the space for the structure to be moved into. Built adjacent to the WCML over six months, it was slowly manoeuvred into place on the SPMTs. Specially designed for very heavy lifting, the 840-wheeled transporter with four carrier beams was controlled by a remote steering system.

The tracks and railway systems over the new bridge were then replaced to allow the railway to reopen to passenger and freight services.

The Streethay project involved the lift of a 2,600-tonne deck onto secant piles using 344 SPMT wheels during a 72-day window when TPA’s 3m panels were supplemented by 4m-wide panels for three weeks.

David Millar, rail interface manager for Balfour Beatty VINCI, said: “I have worked on a number of projects with TPA, and they have always provided excellent value and a highly professional service.

“On this occasion, we required the TPA panels to provide load spread and traction for the drive wheels on the SPMTs. TPA provided the drawings, methodology and lift plans and were highly professional in undertaking the works on site.

“We specified the TPA panels over other types of systems due to their speed of installation to provide a level surface as a suitable drive surface for the bridge installation. It was a competitive tender and TPA provided excellent value for money.”

To see the TPA Portable Roadways in action at Fulfen Wood go to