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East Rail Bridge Bearing Replacement, Hong Kong

Aurecon designs East Rail Bridge Bearing Replacement in Hong Kong

Aurecon’s bridge expertise was employed to provide consultancy services on the replacement of bearings for three bridges along Hong Kong’s East Rail Line. The replacements were required to occur directly underneath the railway during traffic hours.

The most challenging aspect of the East Rail Bridge Bearing Replacement was replacing 108 bridge bearings as 12-car trains ran at 2-minute intervals in both directions throughout each day on the rail line above.

Using a synchronised jacking system

Aurecon designed the bridge bearing replacement system to enable the works to proceed during traffic hours.

Stage 1

  • Removed the existing bridge bearings, and installed new bridge bearings, one by one during daytime (traffic hours).
  • Jacked up the bearing’s top jacks to engage new bearings during non-traffic hours (between 1 am and 5.30 am).

Stage 2

  • A synchronised jacking system ensured that the bearings were evenly loaded and the final deck level was maintained. This occurred during non-traffic time.

French bridge bearing specialist firm Freyssinet worked with Aurecon to research and confirm this non-traditional approach to replacing bridge bearings.

The three bridges, UB28, UB31 and UB32, along the East Rail Line from Tai Po Market Station to Sheung Shui Station, have served as part of East Rail Line railway network since its establishment more than 100 years ago.

Aurecon’s work has included provisions to make bearing replacement easier in the future

Working above water

Each of the three rail bridges are located over existing rivers. This restricted works to the dry season in Hong Kong between November and March. For the remainder of the year Hong Kong is subjected to typhoons and the river levels cannot be guaranteed to be stable enough for works to be conducted underneath the bridges.

Aurecon's scope of work

• Condition survey for the existing bearing system of the three bridges
• Feasibility study for bearing replacement works
• Design the bridge bearing replacement scheme with Freyssinet
• Prepare bearing schedules, bridge bearing types and construction details for the bridges
• Prepare and submit documentation to obtain approval and consent for the works
• Carry out site and topographic surveys and measurements
• Assist MTR in preparing all tender documents for contractors
• Provide construction monitoring


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