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Work accelerates on £350M Aberdeen port expansion

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The first 6,000t precast concrete caisson for Aberdeen’s Castlegate and Dunnottar quays has completed its journey to the port.  

The 50m long, 15m wide and 16m deep caisson is the first of 22 that will form the foundations for Castlegate and Dunnottar Quays, which will be 540m and 400m long respectively.  

Once in place the caisson will be aligned to within 20 nanometers using GPS, before being sunk to the sea bed and filled in a process that will take 30 hours.  

The £350M Aberdeen South Harbour expansion is being delivered by Dragados and will open on of the UK’s busiest ports, to larger vessels. It will also add new facilities and associated infrastructure at Nigg Bay, to the south of the existing harbour. 

The caissons have been manufactured in La Coruna in Spain and travelled more than 1,852km by sea to Cromarty Firth for quality checks and inspections. The caissons were then towed the 333km to Aberdeen Port.  

Aberdeen Harbour engineering director Keith Young said: “The arrival of the first caisson in South Harbour is a significant milestone in the expansion project, and a logistical achievement for us all. I would like to congratulate and thank everyone who has been involved in the design, manufacture, transport and positioning of these caissons.”   

“Aberdeen South Harbour is of vital significance for our region and the rest of the country, and we look forward to the remaining caissons arriving as the project progresses.” 

Preconstruction works for the project began in 2017, and the project is set to be completed in May 2020.  

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Readers' comments (2)

  • The fact that these will be 'aligned to within 20 nanometers (0.00002mm)' is a very impressive feat of engineering!?

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  • Yes, but probably only a sloppy typo error? More importantly, the concrete caissons were prefabricated in Spain and then towed all the way to Scotland. Surely one of the several redundant or partially redundant offshore platform basins could have been utilised for this purpose? That at Nigg springs to mind, being close to the site. On the other hand, the main contractor is Spanish and may have decided that he was better dealing with a company he knows well, rather this risking a flirt with UK labour.

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