Work on Mersey Gateway’s bridge deck underway


Work has started on the Mersey Gateway’s main bridge deck, with two bridge building machines launched in the Mersey Estuary in Liverpool, UK.

The form traveller machines have moved apart for the first time at the construction site’s south pylon, enabling the construction of the 1,000m-long, £1.75bn six-lane toll bridge deck across the River Mersey — to connect Runcorn and Widnes.

The 270t machines — which act as concrete moulds — were assembled at the south pylon earlier this year before being lifted to their starting position at around 25m above the riverbed.
Construction teams then cast a pier table — a rectangular shaped platform — around the bridge pylon before preparing to start work on the main bridge deck.
Kyuyoung Choi, Merseylink’s operations manager for the main crossing, said of the building process: “Each segment of the bridge deck is made in the same way. Reinforced steel is placed into the mould and we then pour around 130cb m of concrete inside to create each segment.

“From the third segment onwards, we install the connection boxes, which are called ‘delta frames’, for the steel stay cables, which are then attached to the upper pylon. The form travellers, which are powered by a hydraulic system, then move forward on a set of rails to the next position and the process is repeated.

“The deck segments are cast simultaneously, which allows the bridge deck to ‘grow’ from either side of the pylons until it meets the connecting bridge deck and the structure is complete.”

Three pairs of form travellers will be used to build the deck and each pair will operate as a unit — the machines will be launched from the north pylon later this month and from the central pylon in October.

They will precast 154 deck segments — each being around 33m wide, 6m long, and taking a week to construct.

Cllr Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “The three bridge pylons under construction are already giving us a glimpse of a much anticipated view of what will be become a landmark structure in our borough and indeed across the north west.

“The launch of the form traveller marks the next, thrilling stage of the project and I’m excited to see the bridge deck emerging across the river.”

Work on the bridge deck is expected to finish in summer 2017 with the new bridge opening in autumn 2017.

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