Europe’s longest bridge-building machine named in special launching ceremony
The longest bridge-building machine in Europe has been named in a special ceremony to mark another key milestone for the Mersey Gateway Project.
In keeping with engineering tradition, construction consortium Merseylink named the movable scaffolding system (MSS) at a special launching event at Catalyst Trade Park in Widnes.
While most machines of this kind can only build bridge spans of up to 60 metres, the MSS for the Mersey Gateway Bridge was specially made so it is able to cast spans of up to 70 metres, making it the longest MSS in Europe.
Merseylink held a competition for staff to name the MSS, with the winning name ‘Trinity’ submitted by Lynn, who works in the project’s communications team.
Lynn officially named the MSS together with Merseylink’s project director Richard Walker at the ceremony, which took place on site today (Monday 21 September 2015).
Lynn chose the name Trinity as she felt it symbolised the three bridge pylons and the three partners in the construction joint venture – Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited, Samsung C&T Corporation and FCC Construcción S.A.
As Merseylink is also sponsored by three major companies – Macquarie Capital, BBGI, and FCC – Trinity was deemed to be a perfect fit.
Martin Buckley, operations director at Merseylink, said:
“According to engineering tradition, a machine cannot start work until it is given a name, and the name is usually female. The tradition is carried on throughout the world as a sign of good luck for the project ahead.The competition really captured the imagination of our staff team and we’ve had some brilliant suggestions.”
It has taken construction teams three months to assemble the bright orange machine. This is no mean feat considering it includes approximately 1,200 components, 3,000 actual parts, and is held together by over 60,000 bolts.
Now fully built, Trinity measures an impressive 157m long – the length of around one and a half football pitches – and weighs around 1,700 tonnes.
The MSS will now build the elevated road viaducts over the Mersey Estuary on both sides of the river, beginning with the north approach viaduct from the launch site at Catalyst Trade Park in Widnes.
Councillor Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Borough Council and chair of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said:
“This is a special day as it marks another key milestone for the Mersey Gateway Project. The size and scale of the MSS is truly spectacular and it’s going to be fascinating to see Trinity in action in the estuary over the next few months.”
The Merseylink Consortium brings together UK expertise with world leaders in major bridge building projects, to combine technology and best practice specifically for the Mersey Gateway Project.
You can see what the MSS will look like in action by watching Mersey Gateway flythrough video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnSYpbAXPoI