Helicopters have flown in temporary bridges to help construct tower foundations for pylons in Ireland.
Groundforce Bridge has supplied a total of 26 temporary bridges to provide access for the refurbishment of the Bellacorick Castlebar 110kV Line in County Mayo for the Electricity Supply Board (ESB).
The refurbishment of the line included the replacement of the electricity pylons and 15 tower foundations.
Due to the scenic and remote locations of the area reaching a lot of the sites by road was a major challenge, so helicopters were used to deliver the bridges.
Fifteen bridges were supplied to KN Group and nine to Grid Network Services, to provide access for the contractor’s plant and equipment including cranes and concrete delivery. The bridges were used to span local rivers and watercourses.
The line crossed over a number of ecologically sensitive areas with over 50% of the line route being within a European designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC), containing protected active bogs and local rivers home to the ‘Freshwater Pearl Mussel,’ which is a protected species.
Full-time ecologists were on site to ensure these habitats were protected and not disturbed by any construction activities. All rivers and water crossings were required to have clear span bridges installed as part of the planning conditions.
Groundforce Bridge made four pre-installation visits to the sites to consider all the issues, and it was decided that delivery of pre-assembled 10m aluminium pedestrian bridges, was impossible by road.
“Once we had decided on which bridges would be needed we had to then look at how we could deliver them to the sites,” said Groundforce’s general manager Terry Mead.
“Without doubt, this was one of the most difficult and challenging projects that we have undertaken since forming the Groundforce bridging division four years ago.”