Tamar Bridge

Tamar Bridge

VolkerLaser was contracted by the joint authorities of the Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council, to undertake essential resurfacing works to the main bridge deck of the Tamar Bridge.

Tamar Bridge during works

What we did

Originally opened in 1961, the Tamar Bridge is a 335m long suspension bridge, spanning the River Tamar between Saltash, Cornwall and Plymouth, Devon. The existing surface, which is more than 20 years old, was nearing the end of its serviceable life, and needed to be replaced, to ensure the safety of people using the bridge.

The full scope of repair and refurbishment works included resurfacing the toll plaza area and the bridge approaches, and the replacement of all six of the bridge movement joints, as well as resurfacing the three lanes on the bridge deck and both cantilevers.

This involved carrying out a series of highly complex procedures in sequence. After removing 949 tonnes of existing surface material using a road planer, the teams then applied 1,920kg of primer to the deck. Two layers of waterproofing - 8,500m2 – were then applied, to provide vital corrosion protection to the steel deck plates. Two thin layers of the surfacing material were then also applied, before the final process of laying the road markings was carried out.

Works to the toll plaza on Tamar Bridge

The bridge can see more than 50,000 cars on a busy weekday, meaning that although disruption to cyclist and pedestrian bridge users was alleviated by the introduction of bus services, the traffic management and lane closures would cause significant disruption in the local community. Working with a traffic management sub-contractor, we employed a tidal flow system meaning traffic management was changed when required based on volume of vehicles rather than strict programme to keep delays and disruption to a minimum.

Works were completed over three phases to allow for the reactive traffic management, and the project was eventually completed two weeks ahead of programme. 

“Everyone has worked very hard to complete the project as quickly as possible, whilst still meeting the high standards required.”

Councillors Jonathan Drean and Martin Worth Joint Chairs of the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee