The south pylon of Mersey Gateway bridge pylons has been completed, marking the project’s highest point in the River Mersey estuary. The south pylon stands at impressive 125 metres high, while the north pylon, which will be complete in the next few days, measures 110 metres.
The smaller central pylon, which is due to be finished in November, will be 80 metres high. Having the two outer pylons taller than the central pylon will give Halton’s new bridge a unique look amongst other major bridges in the UK.
A specialist automatic climbing system is being used to construct the bridge pylons. This equipment builds one vertical five-metre section at a time then repeatedly ‘climbs’ upwards to create the next section until the structure is complete.
Construction teams have been hard at work completing 30 sections for the south pylon and 27 for the north pylon. Twenty-one sections will be built for the central pylon.
A total of 2,230m3 of concrete was poured for the south pylon – almost enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool – and 1,890m3 for the north pylon.
Gareth Stuart, project director at Merseylink, said: “Hitting the highest point on the project is a significant milestone and it’s a testament to the tenacity and expertise of our construction crews who have worked extremely hard, often in challenging conditions, to get the job done. We’ll be holding a special site celebration to thank all of the teams involved.”
The next phase of work, which involves installing steel stay cables to connect the three bridge pylons to the main bridge deck, will begin in the next couple of weeks.
The Merseylink Consortium was appointed by Halton Borough Council as the project company in 2014, on a 30-year contract to design, build, finance and operate the project.
Its equity partners are 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 SA. Emovis will deliver and operate the tolling solution for the consortium.
Halton’s iconic six-lane river crossing is on schedule to open in autumn 2017.
Images by David Hunter