The £1.8bn Mersey Gateway Bridge project is one step closer to completion as its last moveable scaffolding system (MSS), Webster, finished its final concrete pour.
The massive 1,700t machine is one of two systems specially designed to construct the curved viaducts leading to the new bridge.
The final pour took 28 hours to complete, pouring 1,133m3 of concrete into the giant formwork to complete the deck section.
The 157m long, 8m high MSS has now been moved back one span and will slowly be dismantled over two months before being transported to Bratislava to join counterpart MSS Trinity – which completed its final pour in January this year – on a new bridge over the River Danube.
Since Webster started around 10 months ago, it has constructed the reinforced concrete deck for eight spans of the south approach viaduct, pouring 9,205m3 of concrete – the equivalent of filling four Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The machine has acted as the formwork for the deck and was assembled piece by piece, initially lifted into place by two giant cranes, one weighing 700t and the other 750t.
Merseylink general manager Hugh O’Connor said: “To have reached this landmark just 10 months after building Webster is great news for the project.
“The viaducts on either side of the river are huge structures in themselves, with the south approach viaduct requiring a considerable degree of engineering and construction skill to build, as well as using a huge amount of material. This final pour on the south approach viaduct means we’re getting closer and closer to completing this iconic bridge.”
The new bridge is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2017.
MSS Webster in its final position