Colinton Dell is a steep-sided gorge and wildlife refuge on the Water of Leith, just north of the old village of Colinton on the outskirts of Edinburgh.


It extends from Colinton Parish Church towards Slateford along the Water of Leith Walkway and has an area of 10 ha (25 acres). The Dell includes mature and ancient mixed woodland and the protection afforded by the high banks and thick undergrowth makes it a natural habitat for wildlife, including numerous bird species and amphibians, voles, weasels, stoats and occasionally roe deer.


Today walkways and a cycle path take visitors to the ruined Redhall Mill and past Kate's Mill, where paper for the Bank of Scotland's first banknotes is said to have been made.


As a result of a Lifespan e news letter campaign in the autumn of last year we received an enquiry from the Mott MacDonald team in Edinburgh.


After several on line meetings and an on site visit we developed a solution for the Client Edinburgh City Council and introduced CRL Scotland to the project team as a specialist contractor that was capable of delivering the project.


Following a tender process in early 2023 CRL Scotland were awarded the project valued at circa £250,000 as reported in March of this year


The objective of the project was to provide a replacement deck for the existing Colinton Dell Rustic Footbridge with a design life of 120 years. The existing timber deck on the footbridge was in very poor condition and a new Lifespan Structures (FRP) deck was designed, manufactured & installed by CRL Scotland as a replacement so that the bridge can be re-opened in July of this year


Due to the very challenging location of the site the CRL team came up with a carefully thought out plan as to how they would remove the old bridge and be able to safely install the new Lifespan FRP deck sections.


Additional challenges for the team included a high pressure gas main adjacent to the existing bridge, the steepness of the Dell either side of the bridge location and that everything had to come through the famous Colinton Dell Tunnel.


The new Lifespan Structures FRP deck was designed in house to conform with a specification provided by Mott MacDonald. The new deck of approximately 28m span was supplied in 5 sections of 5.7m long x 2.5m wide and 65mm thick that are mechanically fixed onto the existing longitudinal steel beams, that are in good condition. A new 1.5m high galvanised steel parapet was also installed.


A really great example of teamwork within the Centura Group of companies.

Lifespan FRP re-decking in Scotland
Steven Dunn
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