Ouse Bridge – solving a complex construction problem


Ouse Bridge was designed by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Partner and built by Costain between 1973 and 1976.

Ouse Bridge
Credit: National Highways.

A complicated design process to replace a series of now obsolete joints supporting a huge bridge in Yorkshire has seen programme delivery pushed back to next year, it has been reported.  

National Highways told New Civil Engineer the ‘complex’ replacement of eight joints across the M62 Ouse Bridge in East Riding will likely complete in early 2024, instead of this year as first thought.  

This has now been confirmed to Construction Wave.


Ouse Bridge spans River Ouse between Goole and Howden in Yorkshire. It carries the M62 and is between Junctions 36 and 37. It was designed by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Partner and built by Costain between 1973 and 1976.  

The challenge 

In March last year, the reinforced concrete plate girder bridge, built in the 1970s and stretching 1.6km, was found to have a failed joint across two of its six lanes and so they were closed. 

Contraflows put in place while teams addressed the issue saw subsequent closures of the motorway, severe tailbacks at peak times, and even damage to the concrete beneath one lane, owing to the additional strain from traffic.   

Then, in August last year, it was determined that all eight Maurer joints should be replaced – however those parts put in when the bridge was built were found to be now obsolete.  

The solution 

National Highways and its Scheme Delivery Framework partners had to design and create new bearings and the concrete for the works. 

Hydro-demolition will be used to remove existing concrete under each joint, while the new joints are being manufactured. 

But despite hopes the job could be done within a year, National Highways now thinks the work could take until the early part of 2024, with one engineer citing “demanding working conditions”. 


  • Jacobs (design) 
  • Winvic (construction) 
  • Amey (construction) 
  • Premier Road Markings (construction) 

End in sight  

Ouse Bridge
Credit: National Highways.

Scaffolders are in the process of putting up 22m towers for the exiting joint removal after engineers ensured ground stability and foundations were put down.  

And hundreds of drain covers have been replaced while other surfacing and concrete repairs have also been carried out. 

It is understood the new joints will arrive in the UK this month, with main works commencing after that.  

National Highways said it is working hard to minimise delays, adding: “Ouse Bridge is a major and complex structure requiring specialist materials and contractors. 

“The scaffolds underneath the two large joints are now complete, enabling us to access the works from above and below and we’ll be pressing ahead with these works as quickly as possible. Again, we thank everyone for their patience while this work is completed.” 

Enjoyed this? Try Keller Group remain strong in new performance report 

Get industry news in 5 minutes!

A daily email that makes industry news enjoyable. It’s completely free.