This photo shows that the record-breaking beams made by Banagher Precast Concrete were the length of 26 socially-distanced workers!

Banagher's record-breaking beams!

An Offaly company made construction history recently, by producing the longest prestressed concrete beams ever to be placed on a bridge structure in Ireland or the UK!

Seven 155-tonne beams made by Banagher Precast Concrete, which came in at 49.9 metres long, were in recent weeks transported to Cork, where they're being used in the €280 million Macroom bypass project.

Making them, and delivering them to the Rebel County, has been a major logistical exercise as Caroline Cavanagh, the local company's Marketing and Bid Manager, explained to the Offaly Independent this week.

“We are very proud of our work on this project. We always said that we could make a 50-metre beam, but up to now we’ve never had a client brave enough to do it!” she said.

The lifting and transporting of the seven longest beams by truck required slow, Garda-escorted, overnight journeys from Banagher to Macroom. Getting them through Birr was one of the biggest difficulties, given the ‘pinch point’ in Emmet Square in the centre of town.

Some of the Banagher-made beams being used in the construction of the €280 million Macroom bypass in Cork. The bypass is due to open in 2023.

“Transported by our expert local transport partners, Whitten Road Haulage, the beams left Banagher late each evening in order to minimise disruption to other road users and to the local communities,” said Caroline.

“The beams travelled to Birr and, due to their length, they had to be reversed into the mart car park in Birr and then driven out to Loughnane’s sand pit, turned out there, and brought back through Birr.

“They were then parked up between Roscrea and Borris-in-Ossory overnight, and it took eight hours to get them down to Macroom the following day.”

The second-largest set of prestressed concrete bridge beams ever made in Ireland or the UK are also on their way to the Macroom project, measuring 48.75 metres in length. Twelve of the beams have been transported to Cork in recent days, with the last two beams due to travel from Banagher tonight (Friday).

In total, the local firm is designing and manufacturing precast bridge beams for 23 structures for the Macroom bypass project, along with other precast work such as culverts.

Caroline explained that the company’s track record on large construction projects, and the expertise of its engineer, Eamon Stack, resulted in Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) selecting it to work on the project.

Banagher Precast Concrete, which has been operating for over 70 years, is a significant employer in the county. Caroline said that, while staff numbers fluctuate depending on projects, it can have up to 250 people working there at any given time. It also has a secondary site in Norfolk, England.