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Calder Bridge
River Calder, M1 north of Junction 39, West Yorkshire, UK
associated engineer
E.W.H. & Partners Gifford
date  1966 - October 1968
era  Modern  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SE311178
Calder Bridge, which is actually a pair of bridges, one for each carriageway, carries the M1 over the River Calder south east of Wakefield. The project was the subject of a Ministry of Transport competition.
The motorway bridge is a three-span prestressed concrete structure, laid out on a 1m skew. The main span is 73.2m long flanked by cantilevered end spans of 18.3m each connected to the abutments by 6.1m long beams.
Each of the carriageway bridges is supported on a three point bearing system, which counteracts the effects of ground movements caused by mining subsidence in the area.
The twin decks were constructed in situ from hollow trapezoidal box beams, with 150mm wide concrete joints poured after the units had been positioned correctly. Each unit is 9.1m long and weighs up to 254 tonnes. The completed decks were post-tensioned longitudinally.
The two piers are of reinforced concrete. The north pier has one spherical steel bearing, while the south pier has two steel roller bearings 6.7m apart.
During construction, falsework supporting two of the deck units collapsed and unfortunately four men were killed. The need to maintain navigation on the river while building the skewed bridge, and the mistaken use of mild steel rather than high tensile steel joists in the temporary works, may have led to the tragedy.
Calder Bridge cost 440,000, and was opened to traffic in October 1968.
Main contractor: Costain Civil Engineering Ltd
Research: ECPK
bibliography
"The Design and Construction of the Calder Bridge on the M1 Motorway"
by E.W.H. Gifford, M.V. Wooley and A.A.W. Butler
ICE Proceedings, Vol.43 (4), pp527-552, London, August 1969
www.icevirtuallibrary.com
www.iht.org
www.ukmotorwayarchive.org
Location

Calder Bridge