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Gleaming stainless steel spreaders were this week erected on the reinforced concrete piers for London's Millennium Bridge on the River Thames. Using floating cranes, contractor Monberge Thorsen lifted the 80t, Y-shaped structures last week. Recent strikes at the fabrication yard in Finland meant delivery took place later than hoped, said project manager Hans Petersen. But, he added, time gains earlier in the construction programme mean the project is still on schedule and should open by June. The next phase of the work, installing the bridge's parallel cables using a high line system, is due takeplace in mid-February.

Meanwhile, Merseyside's Millennium Bridge, a 34m long, 97.5t ferrocement deck structure, was lifted into position over the Liverpool- Manchester railway line at Bold Moss near St Helens on Sunday. It is claimed by its designers to be the first to use ferrocement in the UK. The material is better known in the world of ship building and is said to give more than 50% weight savings over conventional reinforced concrete, according to Arup project manager Tristram Hope. The cable-stayed design was developed by Arup with Liverpool architect Cass Associates and ferrocement expert Ferro Monk Systems. Contractor for the £650,000 project, Brock Civil Engineering, will be erecting the bridge's 25m pylon this weekend. The footbridge should open in May.

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