Merseylink’s construction teams have completed a 24-hour pour of 1,400 cubic metres of concrete, as part of the installation of three giant pylons to support the Mersey Gateway Bridge.
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The three pylon foundations will sit below the riverbed and will each measure 4.5-metres high and up to 22-metres in diameter.
Construction of the foundations involves making a concrete base layer, or floor, inside the cofferdams. Following this, a cage made of steel reinforcing bars is assembled and encased in steel matting. A working platform is also installed to provide access for site workers.
Upright steel reinforcement bars are then fixed into the centre of the cage to form the beginnings of the pylon shaft. Once the assembly work is finished the concrete pour can take place.
The three pylons, which will rise out of the riverbed to support the bridge deck, should begin to be visible in the estuary from September 2015.
In total, approximately 127,000 cubic metres of concrete will be used across the project.
Work started on the Mersey Gateway Crossing earlier this year, 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. Construction is expected to last three-and-a-half years, with the bridge initially scheduled to open to traffic in the first half of 2017.
George Houston, Merseylink’s site agent, said: “This is one of the biggest concrete pours that I’ve ever been involved with. We’re using a massive amount of concrete – over 600 truckloads just for the three pylon foundations. It’s an extremely technical part of the project and our teams will be working round the clock to get the job done.”
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