Water Street Bridge

Project name: 
Water Street Bridge
Project category: 
Project location: 
United Kingdom

Construction of the new Water Street Bridge

The construction of the new Water Street Bridge provides both a road and pedestrian link between Montgomery Square within the existing Canary Wharf estate and the new Wood Wharf Development.

The bridge itself consists of a single leaf bascule bridge, weighing 185 tons and spanning 26.7 meters over the Bellmouth Passage, part of the former West India Dock, between the pivot point within the East Abutment bascule chamber and the nose bearing on the West Abutment.

The West Abutment consists of a number of vertical structures supported on bearing piles through the existing promenade, notably two feature concrete columns supporting the bridge elastomeric bearings. The approach deck spans over existing LUL property, with a lift out element to allow for emergency access to the structure below.

The East Abutment is a semi-submerged concrete structure founded on 1200mm diameter bored marine piles, with permanent steel casings sealed into the Lambeth Beds below. This comprises external walls between 400mm and 600mm thick with two 650mm thick internal walls supporting the pivot bearing. A 1350mm thick concrete slab then supports the lifting cylinder and a number of high-level slabs on foam concrete to provide a plant room area, capped by a sloped approach slab to the bascule bridge.

The Marine Causeway structure adjacent to this runs alongside the existing marine deck structure of the Wood Wharf development, consisting of bored marine piles supporting transverse precast beams at typically 5400mm centres. Precast planks then span between the beams providing permanent formwork and acting compositely with the in-situ slab, with an overall slab depth of 400mm. Precast parapet units run along the length of the causeway supported on the transverse beams with discrete shear keys cast into the concrete slabs.

Kilnbridge were appointed by Canary Wharf Contractors Ltd to construct the concrete structures for both of the Abutments and the Marine Causeway, as well as developing the methodology and temporary works for the project, on a fixed price lump sum contract.

Planning of the detailing for the marine causeway was driven by the lifting capacity of the crawler crane to be utilised for the project, requiring Kilnbridge to change the design of the finished edge parapet units to a twin wall style system with an infill strip to enable ease of lifting and construction. Further complexity was added with the detailing required for the East Abutment structure, which was to be constructed above the water level before being lowered into place and then completed, with a number of temporary reinforcing bars to suit the change in the structural loading.


What were the challenges and what made the project successful

The finished product of the Marine Causeway and East Abutment, seen within the submitted images, provides an understated and simple appearance, but the bespoke structural details and construction techniques involved belie this. By combining techniques from across the industry, a construction solution was developed that fulfilled and often exceeded the client's requirements, ensuring safe and efficient working throughout the project. Careful planning and trials ensured the success of the novel solutions employed for the project and delivery of the challenging project, with complex reinforcing and concrete interfaces.

The successful challenges  and solutions have been recognised by the industry through the award of the British Construction Industry Temporary Works Initiative of the Year (Civil Engineering) Award 2018, commendation for the CONSTRUCT Project of the Year (over £2.5million) Award 2018 and shortlisting for Construction News Project of the Year by a Specialist Contractor (£3million to £5million) Award, with the latter yet to be awarded.

Ensuring that a tight programme could be achieved with a limited three month pre-construction lead-in period required accelerated design and detailing for the precast elements that could be coordinated with the in-situ elements to follow. The success of this ensured that the project was delivered ahead of the key hard deadline for the bascule bridge installation and within budget despite the technical challenges and bespoke nature of the project.


What benefits utilizing BIM and Tekla Software brought to the project

Given the hybrid nature of the structure, combining in-situ concrete, precast concrete, finished concrete and temporary works elements, coordination and development of the solution within the limited time frame was aided immeasurably by the use of BIM and  Tekla. An animation of the construction programme based on the model was produced to provide a visual tool for the operatives during the inductions and site briefings were implemented to ensure that everyone was aware of the sequence of works and key deliverables.

The production capabilities and the ease of change control allowed within Tekla was exemplified when, only two weeks prior to a key element of the works being constructed, the permanent works engineer realised that they had not correctly accounted for the impact of loading from a ship and required substantial changes in the reinforcement. This was incorporated within the model, clash checked, and the corresponding drawings and schedules were generated within only two days. This enabled a short approval period for reinforcement to be delivered to site on time and the maximum re-use of previously ordered reinforcement from the now defunct design. This meant we could achieve our deadline for the lowering of the East Abutment structure and it did not impact the overall construction programme.

In addition to this, all structural steelwork for the temporary works was modeled, detailed and scheduled from Tekla by our fabrication department, also enabling a comparison of geometry for the clash detection prior to installation.


The project in numbers

Length of Marine Causeway:110 meters. 

Reinforcement Tonnage:  circa. 300 tons.

Length of Marine Causeway
110 meters
Reinforcement Tonnage
±300 tons.
Tekla Structures