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Millennium Wheel

LONDON'S MILLENNIUM Wheel is set to reopen in time for special Valentine's Day 'Cupid's Capsule' rides next week after undergoing a thorough three week annual health check.

As is required on all such fairground type attractions, all mechanical, structural and safety components of the British Airways London Eye had to be checked and certified.

But according to Allan Mann of structural engineer Allott & Lomax, who is in charge of the inspection, there is much less wear on the components than expected.

'It is a credit to the contractors and designers, ' he said. 'Reliability was the totality of the design. The structure is carefully designed for fatigue resistance.'

Mann pointed out that real time monitoring on the wheel has kept a constant check on components ranging from the cable tension to the operation of each of the capsules. But he stressed that the time without passengers has been used to carry out many important tasks and modifications on the wheel which should improve ride and maintenance Just being completed this week is the erection of a new glass canopy above the landing platform. Along with weld integrity checks, electrical tests, and grease, oil and drive wheel changes, modifications included altering the position of air conditioning filters in the capsules to make them easier to clean.

The wheel has attracted some 3.3M visitors in its first 10 months of operation against a traffic forecast of 2.2M in the first year.

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