Track shipments

Bilsdale mast ‘on track for completion this year’

A multi-million pound contract to build a new 300m permanent mast in Bilsdale has been awarded to a local steel builder.

Arqiva, the infrastructure company responsible for the former Bilsdale mast which caught fire in August 2021, signed the contract with Thirsk-based steel builder Severfield plc last week.

The builder will be responsible for constructing the new permanent structure, which has a project value of over £30million and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Arqiva chief executive Paul Donovan said the company is working to cut the replacement time for such a massive structure in half at one of the country’s most environmentally sensitive sites in Bilsdale, North America. North York Moors.

Severfields, one of the UK’s leading structural steel experts, is based at Dalton Airfield Industrial Estate near Thirsk and has worked on major projects such as the Olympic Stadium and The London Shard.

Mr Donovan said: ‘This I am sure will be of great interest to everyone. It was frustrating for us that it took so long, but we needed to have due process around something as important as this.

The coming months will see the steel fabricated by Severfield, before going through galvanizing and being made into flat pack type units and transported to Bilsdale to be reassembled in a modular fashion.

Mr Donovan said: ‘I am very pleased with the progress we are making on what will ultimately be one of Britain’s ten tallest structures at 314m high, weighing 200 tonnes with extensive electronic and other fittings very complex that need to be installed. above.

“At the moment it’s on the right track, but like everything it depends on the weather, because you can only work at height when the wind is below a certain speed, so we hope for a good summer. .

“Everyone has really gone out of their way to ensure that their normal delivery times are reduced without any compromise on quality. We are all aware of the importance for people to complete this project so that we can fully restore the service to what it was before.

“The previous mast was a cylindrical structure, but the new mast will be a truss-based structure which actually has some advantages in its ability to tolerate wind, but also if there was a fire on a truss-based structure. , it’s potentially less vulnerable to the kind of catastrophic outcomes we’ve seen before.”

The signing of the official contract was made at the Severfield plc site, in the presence of the MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake.

Mr Hollinrake said that while the loss of the original mast had proven difficult for many people, and especially the vulnerable, he was pleased with Arqiva’s progress after overcoming initial delays.

He said he was delighted the contract had been awarded to Severfield, helping to secure jobs at the Dalton Airfield site where around 400 people are employed.

Mr Hollinrake added: ‘It’s great that we can actually do this stuff in the UK and I’m proud it’s in my patch. Some people think it’s just big chunks of steel, but it’s actually quite complex when you put it all together, like a gigantic Mechano set.

Rob Evans, managing director of the Severfield Commercial and Industrial division, said the company’s involvement in the construction of the Bilsdale mast “will be of great benefit to the local community”.

He pointed out that Arqiva aims to “halve” the time it would normally take to build a mast of this size.