Merseylink’s 1,700-tonne bridge-building machine, known as Trinity, has started work in Widnes on the first section of a viaduct that will lead to the Mersey Gateway Bridge.
Trinity is a movable scaffolding system, specially designed and built to construct the curved viaducts leading to the Mersey Gateway Bridge, the centerpiece of the Mersey Gateway project.
See below for video on how Trinity operates
Trinity began work today in Widnes with a concrete pour for the first deck section of the northern approach viaduct, which will lead to the new bridge.
Around 160 truckloads of concrete are being poured into the 1,170 cubic metre mould over a period of around 24 hours.
Trinity will be on site for the next 14 months.
The machine will act as a giant concrete mould, known as formwork, for the central deck of the north and south elevated approach viaducts, which will be constructed in sections of approximately 70m in length. It will take a few weeks to build each of the 19 spans, with this element of work due for completion in March 2017.
The process involves locking Trinity onto the bridge piers and then pouring concrete into the mould to create a deck span. Once the first span is complete, the equipment will then move along via hydraulic jacks to create the next deck span, and the process begins again.
Hugh O’Connor, general manager for Merseylink, said: “This is a hugely exciting time for our construction teams. An enormous amount of effort has gone into preparing and testing Trinity ahead of today’s concrete pour. We are delighted to achieve this important milestone and get this next phase of the project underway.”
Trinity is being operated by MSS specialists ConstruGomes, working alongside Merseylink engineers.
Once Trinity has constructed the central part of the deck, a machine called a wing traveller will then be used to build the outer part of the north approach viaduct. The wing traveller is currently being assembled on site.
Work started on the Mersey Gateway Crossing in 2015, which will deliver a six-lane bridge designed to improve links between Runcorn and Widnes on the route into Liverpool, easing congestion on the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge.
The bridge is being built by the Merseylink consortium, which includes Kier, FCC, Bilfinger, Samsung CT and Macquarie. Merseylink was awarded the contract to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the bridge in June 2013.
The new bridge is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2017.