A second massive movable scaffold system will soon be on its way from China to Halton to help with the next stage of the £540m construction project.
The machine will be used to build the south elevated approach viaduct, which will connect Runcorn’s main road network to the Mersey Gateway bridge.
The new MSS is the same specification as Trinity, the machine that is currently building the north approach viaduct in Widnes, but it will be red rather than orange.
When fully assembled, the steel structure will weigh 1,700 tonnes and measure 157m long, 8m high and 22m across at its widest point.
As no UK companies currently have the skills and expertise to design, build and operate a machine of this specification, Merseylink had to look further afield. The MSS is currently being manufactured in China and is due to arrive in Runcorn over the next month.
Workers will begin to assemble the MSS on site at Astmoor in the summer. The new machine will be assembled around the first pier of the approach viaduct, approximately 12.5m above the ground.
Construction joint venture Merseylink decided to deploy the additional machine to save valuable time dismantling, then transporting and reassembling Trinity on the south side of the river.
Richard Walker, project director at Merseylink, said: “On a project of this scale, a degree of flexibility in the programme is always needed so we can make improvements when necessary. Bringing in another MSS will provide additional resilience and ensure that we remain on track to open the new bridge in autumn 2017.”
Mersey Gateway will be a 1,000m long cable stay bridge consisting of four spans supported from three towers in the estuary; a unique design where the 80m high central tower will be shorter than the two outer towers, which will be 110m (north tower) and 125m (south tower); total length (including the bridge and approach viaducts) of 2.13km; a deck carrying six lanes of traffic (three in each direction) with a speed limit of 60mph; up to 30 supporting piers carrying it across the approach viaducts; and a curved approach at each end of the bridge giving varying views of its unique design and maximising its visual impact.
Halton Council appointed a consortium 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 S.A. Sanef S.A. will deliver and operate the tolling solution for the consortium.