Friday, 2 December 2016

The Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridge, designed in Britain, built in Britain, with 6.5 million rivets, and opened in 1890.

To emulate this must be the aspiration of the next generation of budding engineers. This is where the opportunities lie in the brave new Brexit world.  There are river estuaries all around the world calling out for a Victorian icon to cross them. And after only a century and a quarter there must still be people around who can remember the technical intricacies of such a design and pass on that knowledge.

Unless the reference is indended to be to the Queensferry Bridge (not visible behind the Forth Road Bridge in the background).  It is currently under construction by a consortium called Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors which comprises of Hochtief from Germany, American Bridge from the USA, Dragados from Spain and the British contingent, Morrison Construction.  Major components of the bridge, such as the deck units, have been made in China and Spain so I guess that counts more as an import than and export.

But the caption is about DESIGN. That will be a team consisting of Ramboll (Danish), Sweco (Swedish, but they started the project as Grontmij (Dutch)) and Leonhardt Andra und Partners (German).

One thing is clear though. The British are paying for it.

Final thought: if we were starting the process to procure, design and build the Queensferry Bridge now, the cost would be much greater, if we could build it at all without being able to draw on international expertise.

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