Shield Asbestos Services Cornwall & Exeter branches, undertook a project on behalf of American Bridge International (ABI) as part of a maintenance package.
American Bridge International, founded in 1900, is a worldwide company which has its headquarters in Pennsylvania, USA. As world leaders in specialist engineering projects, ABI work on global projects. Our Cornwall and Exeter branches have been working together throughout the year-long project.
The project objective was to remove and replace 872 cable band bolts and 496 upper hangar bolts which protruded through fibrous asbestos packing. These were all the original bolts that had been fitted when the bridge was built in 1961 and had come to the end of their life span. ABI engineers were required to inspect these original bolts to assess any damage or deterioration. To enable this, the Shield team cleaned and/or photographed and logged each bolt within a full enclosure built on the site.
Our teams worked closely with ABI and their appointed consultants with ABI teams monitoring the strict process of replacing the bolts at all times. This was necessary to ensure the correct tension of the bolts was maintained for the structural integrity of the bridge.
Apart from working with asbestos, the main concern for this project was working at height. Due to the remote location, the works had to be undertaken from ‘hanging platforms’ which could only be accessed using the main suspension cable – ‘cable walking’. The Shield team, under the supervision of ABI, had training to enable use of the specialist access equipment. Equipment needed for asbestos works, including portable H – Type vacuum cleaners and containers for the asbestos waste, had to be transported up to the platforms using specially designed rucksacks.
Shield had a team of five to seven Operatives including the Supervisor, on site throughout the year, working shifts of ten days on and four days off. Our Supervisor maintained client relations, attending daily meetings and working closely with the ABI management team.
The changeable south west weather halted works a number of times during the winter months, mainly due to heavy rain and high winds. During these periods, Shield staff were on-hand to assist ABI with other non-asbestos related tasks that were also required. After a lot of bad weather, a positive HSE site visit and thousands of miles of cable walking, the project was successfully completed in October 2018.