Local firm completes huge bridge project

KME Steelworks director Seamus Murchan.
KME Steelworks director Seamus Murchan.

A Lisburn based engineering firm has successfully completed a key component in one of the most complex construction contracts for a 336m bridge in the north east of England.

KME Steelworks was appointed to manufacture bespoke formwork – tailor made moulds - for the construction of foundations for the £120m Wear Crossing in Sunderland, the highest bridge to be built in Britain in recent years.

KME Steelworks was appointed to manufacture bespoke formwork  tailor made moulds - for the construction of foundations for the �120m Wear Crossing in Sunderland, the highest bridge to be built in Britain in recent years.

KME Steelworks was appointed to manufacture bespoke formwork  tailor made moulds - for the construction of foundations for the �120m Wear Crossing in Sunderland, the highest bridge to be built in Britain in recent years.

The unique design foundations will carry a 103m high A-frame structure carrying a two-span, cable-splayed bridge. The new bridge will have two lanes of traffic in each direction, plus dedicated cycle ways and footpaths along its 336m length. KME was also tasked with supplying more than 20 steel moulds for all the bridge deck precast concrete units.

KME Steelworks director Seamus Murchan says the project was complex and demanding.

“The Wear Crossing is a prestigious project which promises to be a game changer for the economic development of the north east of England,” says Mr Murchan. “To be part of such an important component of infrastructure development is a tribute to the quality of KME’s output.”

Installation of the formwork on the river bed and the subsequent pouring of concrete was made possible by the construction of a cofferdam in the river.

The main A frame structure which was built in Belgium and transported on a special barge to the river Wear is expected to be erected early next month.

Sunderland City Council who commissioned the £120m project says the Wear Crossing will provide a vital new transport link across the River Wear which will help connect the Port of Sunderland and Sunderland City Centre with the A19, the developing IAMP Enterprise Zone and the wider Tyne and Wear city region.

KME is a multi-disciplined engineering firm employing 60 people in Lisburn in design services, laser cutting, fabrication and steel moulds.