The special machines that will create the six-lane deck between the three bridge pylons on the £540m Mersey Gateway bridge are being installed ready to start work in the spring.
See animation of machine workings below
The giant blue ‘form traveller’ machines are being put together at the north and south cofferdams in the Mersey estuary. They will act as movable concrete moulds for the bridge deck spans and work in a similar way to the movable scaffolding system, which is building the elevated approach viaducts.
Once built, the machines will be lifted by a hydraulic system and fixed into place at either side the bridge pylons to cast the first part of the deck. The form travellers will then separate and move to the next span position, and the process will be repeated, allowing the deck to grow from each side of the pylon until the main bridge deck is complete.
After the third deck segment has been cast from the bridge pylon, it will then be connected to a stay cable and the upper pylon for support.
Three pairs of form travellers are being assembled; one pair for each bridge pylon. The machines are expected to start work in spring of this year.
The bridge is being built and will be run on a 30-year contract by the Merseylink consortium, comprising equity partners Macquarie Capital Group, BBGI, and FCC Construcción. The construction joint venture is made up of Kier Infrastructure & Overseas, Samsung C&T Corporation and FCC Construcción S.A.
The new bridge is due to open in autumn 2017.
See how the machines work